Users of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) must be trained to use and look after (e.g. clean, maintain and store) their RPE properly. Users should be given both initial and regular refresher training to ensure awareness remains high.
All people involved in the selection, use, storage and maintenance of RPE require training. At a minimum, training should cover:
- hazard identification
- the hazards, risks and effects of exposure
- RPE selection process
- why fit testing is necessary
- what the RPE can and cannot do to help protect the worker (limitations)
- how to visually check for signs of damage before each use
- how to put on and take off RPE
- fit checking before use
- importance of wear time
- how to recognise medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent workers from using a respirator
- how improper fit, usage or maintenance can reduce the respirator’s ability to protect the worker
- when and how to replace filters/cartridges
- where and how the RPE should be cleaned and stored
- workers health and safety responsibilities.
RPE should be put on before entering a hazardous work area. A worker should not take off the RPE when inside a hazardous area – even if only for a short time.
- be trained to monitor the correct use of RPE
- supervise workers in regards to the correct use of RPE
- be aware of the reasons for providing RPE.
Training must be provided by a competent person such as a consultant, a representative from a RPE manufacturer or supplier, or an experienced in-house worker.