Disposable Respirators: A Complete Guide 2019


Each year there are 12,000 lung disease deaths estimated to be linked to past exposures at work. An estimated 18,000 new cases per year are self-reported work-related breathing or lung problems. Using a disposable respirator can significantly reduce this risk of exposure.

From exposure to harmful dust and fumes in the workplace, a range of lung diseases can develop, including diseases that are extremely serious such as cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These diseases can be fatal; that’s why RPE and a disposable respirator are so important.

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is a form of personal protective equipment that is specifically designed to protect the wearer from airborne hazards that can have an adverse effect on their health.

Disposable Respirators are the most popular form of RPE used in the industrial workplace. Essential and highly effective, these can help improve the welfare of employees throughout the industry.

What is a Disposable Respirator? 

More commonly referred to as “Dust Masks”, a Disposable Respirator is designed to be worn over the nose and mouth, fitting closely to the wearers face, and held in place by elasticated straps running behind the head.  They are mostly cup-shaped.

The purpose of a disposable respirator is to protect the wearer from breathing in harmful particles or substances that could be present in any particular working activity.  The materials used are specifically to filter the air that the wearer breathes so that only clean air is breathed in and the harmful substances are filtered out, and so protecting the wearer.

When choosing a respirator mask, it’s important to know what elements may be present in the working environment as this can determine what type of mask is needed.  Some masks can only provide limited levels of protection, while others will protect from many different hazards.

Importance of wearing a Disposable Respirator 

Often the importance of wearing PPE can be emphasised by clear and visible dangers that have immediate consequences.  For example, in an environment where there are small fragments of material flying around, most people would naturally want to wear something to protect their eyes and face.

However, when the hazard is related to a respiratory danger, the hazard is not often visible to see and breathing it in may not have any immediate effect – sometimes it even takes years before the consequences are apparent.  This can mean people don’t recognise the importance of wearing the correct disposable respirator, despite the health impacts being potentially life-changing!

Sometimes the impact will be more short-term and less harmful.  For example, an employee could be affected by a short-term illness.  Illness can lead to downtime in the workplace and can lead to direct repercussions on employers financially and reputation-wise. If an employer is found to have not provided satisfactory PPE, disposable respirator, or did not provide suitable training then they are at risk of facing legal repercussions or fines from employees and court cases should an incident occur.

How to choose a Disposable Respirator

Not all respirators or masks the same – there are different kinds to choose from, and the most important factor to consider is the protection rating of the mask. These disposable respirator rating systems are known as FFP Classes. To learn more about FFP Classes, take a look at our complete guide on the topic.

Dust masks should be specified based on the hazards in the workplace. Most dust masks will only achieve a certain level of protection, and not protect against all potential respiratory hazards. The FFP Classes of RPE are an indication of what a piece of respiratory protective equipment can and can’t protect you against. When choosing a disposable respirator you should evaluate what FFP Class you require.

Most dust masks are also disposable, simply worn throughout a job and then disposed of as the material will become contaminated and not fit for reuse.

respiratory protection

At Betafit, specialising in PPE is what we do. Our focus and expertise constantly allow us to surpass expectations and create products that will help keep employees and workers protected against workplace hazards.

Our products have been designed by wearers for wearers. The greater the comfort, the greater the use. The better the fit, the better it will protect you. Don’t let negligence or uncomfortable PPE be the reason your employees aren’t protected.

Need more information on the best RPE or respirator for your workplace? Contact us today on 08455 444 000 or email [email protected]

This article was written by the Technical Team at BETAFIT PPE LTD.