What Is a Dust Mask?

Household and garden projects frequently involve harmful toxins and chemical gas emissions, not to mention dust, fumes or vapors. Anyone who has ever painted or polished walls for their further processing knows first-hand how dangerous inhaling airborne contaminants is. The question is, how many people take precaution against it and wear a respirator? A respirator is a unique mask wearing which one can protect his lungs and eyes from all kinds of contamination’s. Originally, air masks were designed for use in industrial, medical, and military industries, however, today they can be found in almost every household and are used for many different purposes. In our review, we’ve picked some of the most popular respirators so you can choose a suitable one for your needs and projects.


There are many structures and rankings of dust Mask Respirators. The primary rankings are N, P and R. These rating is a number, generally 95,99 or 100 which defines to how much the filter has been measured to remove of PM-0.3 microns in diameter or greater. Breathing Masks and respiratory protection can also be had by using PAPR systems that make breathing easier, and more comfortable.

Dust Mask Respirator Ratings:

The first digit is a letter that corresponds to its resistance to oil. The second and third digits are numbers that denote the percentage of particulates the respirator can filter out. For example, a P95 respirator is an oil proof respirator that filters out 95% of particles.

Respirator Rating Letter Class

  • N– Not oil resistant
  • R– Resistant to oil
  • P– Oil Proof

Respirator Rating Number Class

  • 95– 95%  removal of all particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter
  • 99– 99% Removal of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in diameter
  • 100– 99.97%al Remove of all particles that are 0.3microns in diameter or larger

Considerations when choosing a respirator:

Choose a breathing mask can be a bit confusing. But some things to consider is the rating as described above, and also the ease and comfort of wearing the mask. If the mask is not comfortable, you will not want to wear it when it is needed.

Cool Flow Masks:

Cool Flow masks have a gated valve that allows exhaled and hot air to easily pass out of the mask system, which makes for a drying, cooler fit to the user. Cool flow masks may be more expensive, but they make up for that in comfort of use! Our best-selling cool flow respirator is the N95 3M 8511 here

N95 Masks:

Number of N95 Masks can be found on our website. N95 masks filter out 95% of all particles over 0.3 microns or larger. But these masks are NOT oil resistant, they are easier breathing than the R and P variants of the 95 rated masks. N95 Masks are probably the most common Mask used these days.

PAPR respirators:

PAPR or powered air respirators cannot be overlooked. While much more expensive, PAPR systems provide a cooler, dryer respirator experience, and provide different levels of filtration where the breather is not responsible for “powering” the filtration mechanism. PAPR systems are a great solution for extended applications, or extended period breathing protection.

For more information about specific applications for different respirators, check out these articles in our resource center and our blog.



The Top Five Vendors in the Global Air Purifying Mask Market


3M engages in manufacturing and selling of safety and graphics, electronics and energy, industrial, and consumer products to its customers. Safety and graphics segment of the company offers personal protection products, commercial graphics systems, traffic safety and security products, and fall protection products.

Avon Rubber

Avon Rubber engages in designing and manufacturing of specialized products for the protection and defense and dairy industries. It develops and manufactures products such as respiratory protection systems and tubing for dairy processing. It operates in the US and the UK and distributes their products globally.


Bullard engages in the designing and manufacturing of personal protective equipment and systems. The company offers its products through a network of distributors across the world. Its offerings include respiratory protection products, such as powered-air purifying respirators, supplied-air respirators, breathing air filters and monitors, pressure demand systems, and pumps and compressors.

Honeywell International

Honeywell International operates as a technology and manufacturing company. It offers turbochargers, eye and face protection, hearing, respiratory, hand protection, protective clothing, head protection, and other products to its customers across the world. In the energy safety and security segment, the company offers security, fire, and gas detection products; building integrated and installed systems; plant emergency safety systems; safety products.

Mine Safety Appliances

MSA engages in developing, manufacturing, and supplying safety products. Its offerings include protective equipment, detectors, and respiratory products. In the breathing apparatus segment, the company offers face masks, respirators, and self-contained breathing apparatus products.

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Basic Study of Risk Assessment


The purpose of a risk assessment is to systematically identify all of the risks associated with a task, activity or process and  put  appropriate controls in place to eliminate  or reduce the risks associated with that activity.

This entails breaking the activity down into separate components and ascertaining all of the risks associated with each component of the activity. Once the risks are identified you then assess the level of risk, to determine its priority. According to the level of risk and hence the priority, you decide on what controls you can put in place to eliminate or reduce the risk.

Obviously something with a high level of risk is a greater priority and may need to have more complex controls in place. In many circumstances you will find that it is impossible to totally eliminate the risk.

The degree of risk that remains after you have implemented controls is referred to as residual risk. If you find that the residual risks are too high (ie you just can’t put controls in place that reduce the risk), you may have to abandon the activity or think of other controls to put in place to reduce the risk.

Best results will be achieved if the risk assessment is undertaken by more than one person, as this enables different views and perspectives, meaning that you are better able to identify all

of the risks. It also means greater and more varied input on determining controls.

The five steps to Risk Assessment:

Step 1: Identify hazards, i.e. anything that may cause harm.

Employers have a duty to assess the health and safety risks faced by their workers. Your employer must systematically check for possible physical, mental, chemical and biological hazards.

This is one common classification of hazards:

  • Physical: e.g. lifting, awkward postures, slips and trips, noise, dust, machinery, computer equipment, etc.
  • Mental: e.g. excess workload, long hours, working with high-need clients, bullying, etc. These are also called ‘psychosocial’ hazards, affecting mental health and occurring within working relationships.
  • Chemical: e.g. asbestos, cleaning fluids, aerosols, etc.
  • Biological: including tuberculosis, hepatitis and other infectious diseases faced by healthcare workers, home care staff and other healthcare professionals.
Step 2: Decide who may be harmed, and how.


Identifying who is at risk starts with your organisation’s own full- and part-time employees. Employers must also assess risks faced by agency and contract staff, visitors, clients and other members of the public on their premises.

Employers must review work routines in all the different locations and situations where their staff are employed. For example:

  • Home care supervisors must take due account of their client’s personal safety in the home, and ensure safe working and lifting arrangements for their own home care staff.
  • In a supermarket, hazards are found in the repetitive tasks at the checkout, in lifting loads, and in slips and trips from spillages and obstacles in the shop and storerooms. Staff face the risk of violence from customers and intruders, especially in the evenings.
  • In call centres, workstation equipment (i.e. desk, screen, keyboard and chair) must be adjusted to suit each employee.

Employers have special duties towards the health and safety of young workers, disabled employees, nightworkers, shiftworkers, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Step 3: Assess the risks and take action.

This means employers must consider how likely it is that each hazard could cause harm. This will determine whether or not your employer should reduce the level of risk. Even after all precautions have been taken, some risk usually remains. Employers must decide for each remaining hazard whether the risk remains high, medium or low.

Step 4: Make a record of the findings.

Employers with five or more staff are required to record in writing the main findings of the risk assessment. This record should include details of any hazards noted in the risk assessment, and action taken to reduce or eliminate risk.

This record provides proof that the assessment was carried out, and is used as the basis for a later review of working practices. The risk assessment is a working document. You should be able to read it. It should not be locked away in a cupboard.

Step 5: Review the risk assessment.

A risk assessment must be kept under review in order to:

  • ensure that agreed safe working practices continue to be applied (e.g. that management’s safety instructions are respected by supervisors and line managers); and
  • take account of any new working practices, new machinery or more demanding work targets.

Implement controls

Once you have decided on the controls you are going to put in place and the risk assessment is authorised, you have to implement these controls. This may require the addition of further training, procedures, guidelines etc. to facilitate implementation of some controls.

Monitor And review

The next step is the most important step, as there is no use implementing controls if you don’t monitor and review what you have implemented.

This should be a continual process if it is to be effective. The best planned control measures may not be as effective as you thought they would be once put into practice. Or, you may find that by implementing certain controls, creates other hazards. If this is the case you may have to implement further contro

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