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T.A.S.C.O Tip: When workplaces subject employees to harmful gasses, air particles, chemicals, dust and debris, federal law requires employer law to make approved respirators available. Not providing such safety products could result in stiff fines and penalties by OSHA. Do not confuse respirators with ventilators, which actually assist in breathing. Rather, respirators force air through a specially designed filter before it is inhaled. Other times, respirators provide an alternate source of clean air. The design of respirators differs based on what harmful matter they are designed to protect employees against. OSHA offers some important terminology that will help both employers and employees understand respirators technology: