PPE required for benzene:
For APR to be permitted, you must know that oxygen levels are sufficient, explosion hazards are controlled, and benzene concentrations are as follows:
Up to 5 ppm – ½ mask or full mask may be worn.
Up to 25 ppm – full mask may be worn if you have been quantitatively fit tested.
With use, cartridges can become saturated with vapours and stop protecting you.
The following change-out schedule tells you when to change your cartridges:
- If odours are detected while wearing APR, reposition mask and conduct a user seal check.
- If odours continue to be detected, change out cartridges immediately.
Supplied Air Respirators (SAR) are similar to Supplied Air Breathing Apparatus (SABS) and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBS). They provide you with clean air, rather than filtering it.
SAR can be use when:
When you are over the maximum use concentration allowed for a ½ mask or full-face mask.
When you do not know the concentration of benzene that may be present.
Other respiratory hazards, such as hydrogen sulphide, require SAR and when explosion hazard are controlled.
In conclusion, remember that Benzene can be absorbed through your skin and affect other body systems. Benzene can affect your skin at the site of contact.
Prevent benzene from contacting your skin by wearing gloves, face shields, goggles, aprons and / or chemically protective suits. In general nitrile products will provide skin protection from benzene for most fluids at some construction site. Disposable nitrile gloves are for one time use only and should be discarded after each use. If fluids contain high levels of benzene (greater that 20%), or if your hands will be immersed in the fluid, Viton products is recommended.
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