Protective masks, respiratory equipment (RPE) is divided into 2 main areas: (A) Filtering face Pieces (FFP) & (B) Air Supplied Equipment.
Additional information can be found within each category section:
01: What's the difference between FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 Disposable masks?
The European safety standard EN149: 2001 + A1: 2009 for disposable protective masks includes performance tests in filter penetration; extended exposure test; flammability; breathing resistance and total inward leakage. Masks that meet this standard are classified according to their filtering efficiency & protection as FFP1, FFP2, FFP3.
FFP1 (80% Filter efficiency) Protection from non‐toxic contaminants in concentrations up to 4 x OEL or 4 x APF. Particles filtered are larger than 5 microns Dust, Fumes, Aqueous mists, Oils based mists.
FFP2(94% Filter efficiency) Protection from low to average toxicity contaminants in concentrations up to 12 x OEL or 10 x APF . Particle size filtration 2-5 microns - Fine dust, Aqueous / Oil-based mists.
FFP3 (99% Filter efficiency) Protection from toxicity contaminants in concentrations up to 50 x OEL or 20 x APF. Particles size less than 2 microns - Very fine dust, Fibres, Aqueous/ Oil-based mists.
Dolomite test for clogging signifies a mask with low breathing resistance in very dusty environments.
02: What are the safety standards for Reusable Half Masks?
Half mask respirators (Reusable masks) are required to meet the European standards EN140, EN141, 143 and EN371.
The European standard - EN140 covers the technical specifications for half masks. A half mask is defined as covering the nose, mouth & chin.
EN141 European standard -Gas filters for protection against specified gases and vapours or combined filters for protection against solids and/or liquid particles & specified gases and vapours.
Filters are classified as Class 1, Class 2 & Class 3 .
EN143 European standard - Filters for protection against particulates. These are classified according to their filtering efficiency P1, P2 & P3. P3 filters provide the highest level of filtration.
EN371 European standard - AX filters.
P1 (80% Filter efficiency) Protection from non‐toxic contaminants in concentrations up to 4 x OEL or 4 x APF. Particles larger than 5 microns Dusts, Fumes, Aqueous mists, Oils based mists.
P2(94% Filter efficiency) Protection from low to average toxicity contaminants in concentrations up to 12 x OEL or 10 x APF . Particle size filtration 2-5 microns - Fine dust, Aqueous / Oil-based mists.
P3(99% Filter efficiency) Protection from toxicity contaminants in concentrations up to 50 x OEL or 20 x APF. Particles size less than 2 microns - Very fine dust, Fibres, Aqueous/ Oil-based mists.
03: What are the safety standards for Full Face Masks?
EN136 European standard for Full Face masks. Negative pressure, powered or supplied air systems.
Full face masks are classified as:
Class 1 - Light Duty & Maintenance
Class 2 – General Duty & Maintenance
Class 3 – Heavy Duty – Fire Service
Full face masks when used with particulate filters provide the following APF protection levels. P2 filter APF 10 & P3 filter APF 40 when used with a full face mask.
04: What are the different types of powered air respirators?
The European safety standards for powered air respirators are the EN146 & EN12941 standard with the powered respirators classified into three protective categories, TH1, TH2 & TH3. (Turbo Hood)
The powered respirator includes hood & powered air unit.
The powered air respirators are a recommended solution as a dust mask for bearded personnel.
TH1P provides an APF protection factor of 10 (APF 10) & TH2P provide an APF protection factor of 20 (APF 20)
05: What is an air-fed respirator?
European standards EN270 & EN1835 incorporates the Helmet/hood (Covers the face) supplied with breathable air from a compressed air unit as well as the respirators operation. The adjustable continuous flow valve must incorporate a low warning device.
Standard EN1835 covers three classes LDH1, LDH2 & LDH3 (LDH=Light Duty Hose). The maximum permissible length of air line (Valve (Regulator) to the Air source (Compressor) is 30 metres EN270) & 10 metres EN1835.