Workplace Respirator Terms

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What are key terms related to workplace respirators?

Workplace Respirator Terms

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:

  • Assigned Protection Factor: This is the workplace level of respiratory protection that a class of respirators is expected to provide employees in a variety of work situations.
  • Canister (or Cartridge): This is a container with a filter, sorbent or catalyst that removes contaminants from air passed through this container.
  • Loose-fitting facepiece: This is an inlet covering that forms a partial seal to the face, as opposed to a tight-fitting one whereby the air pressure inside the respirator is negative during inhalation.
  • HEPA filter: This filter can remove at least 99.97% of monodisperse particles of .3 micrometers in diameter.



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