The vendor who supplies your engineering controls may be able to help you determine whether the controls will adequately protect your employees from respiratory hazards. You must evaluate the level of contamination in your workplace after the engineering controls are installed. You must base selections of respirators on the hazards to which your employees are exposed and must consider how workplace and user factors affect respirator performance and reliability.
Workplace factors refer to the actual workplace facility and its geographic characteristics, among other factors. User factors refer to the distinguishing characteristics of the individual employee. Some examples include the following:
- The level of the contaminant in relation to the Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) of available respirators.
- The conditions of the workplace (e.g., size, configuration, temperature, humidity) of the workspace.
- Ease of employee communication.
- Ease or difficulty of the work or rate of activity.
- The type of workplace tasks and proximity to the source of contamination (e.g., cutting wood on a band saw would differ from hand polishing a wood veneer on furniture).
- The location and movement of other personnel and equipment.