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Dust Masks, Fit Testing and Respirators

Essentials that you NEED to know!

Have things changed?
YES. From July 2018, workers in Queensland who should normally wear face masks must be fit tested for ‘good’ fit and a record kept of their results. PLUS Work Safe has dramatically increased its field calls to ensure compliance.

Is this only for the stone industry? What about less dangerous industries?
It is for ALL INDUSTRIES where masks are needed. Below is the official policy; ‘Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors will take enforcement action if a person conducting a business or undertaking has provided tight-fitting respirators to workers without undertaking fit-testing or where facial hair is likely to prevent the seal of the respirator to the face.’

What if workers won’t wear masks?
Recent death from silicosis in the stone industry highlights the need to wear appropriate masks!
The responsibility is two fold - both workers and employers can be subject to enforcement action. Refusal to wear PPE is a legitimate reason for workplace disciplinary action. Below is the official word; ‘Queensland work health and safety laws require workers to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, comply with any reasonable instruction, and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure of the employer relating to health or safety. It may appear a small matter, but work safety should always be taken seriously.’

What do I need to do? There are 3 priorities...
First - Check if masks are needed - are you grinding, cutting, using solvents and other chemicals, spraying, removing or handling dangerous materials, operating in a dusty environment? We can suggest the right specifications for you! Make sure that you or your staff are wearing the appropriate respirators. Please note that some common cheaper disposable masks fail ‘fit-tests’.

Second - Buy a fit test kit yourself and get some training or employ an external consultant. Keep the appropriate records. Buying a Qualitative Fit Test kit is usually the easiest and cheapest option.

Third - There is a particular Worksafe focus on people who wear masks being clean shaven. Why? Stubble or beards prevent a good seal between the skin and the respirator. Worksafe is very focused on this one - many customers have been forced to take remedial action! There are solutions though. We can help there too!

Are Worksafe active?
YES. Many ABL customers have received field audits in many different industries.

Short info on 3 Key ‘solution’ Products
(a) THE SIMPLE SOLUTION

Fit Test Kit


  • Contains denatonium benzoate which creates a bitter taste
  • Compatible with disposable respirators and reusable respirators
  • *1 kit lasts approximately 50-75 tests*
  • Does not expire
**Fit testing is law for anyone using a respirator**
In SE QLD ABL Distribution and 3M Australia offer FREE training seminars!

(b) DISPOSABLE THAT PASSES 'THE TEST'

9322A+ Respirators


  • Used for mechanically and thermally generated particles and fumes
  • Cool flow valve prevents heat and moisture build-up making breathing easier
  • Best option if using disposable respirators
Will pass the test!
Many cheaper face masks allow air to leak in and hence users fail fit tests. 

(c) SOLUTION FOR BEARDED PERSONS

Versaflo TRM-106C

  • No need for 'hassles' with beards and stubble
  • Positive pressure means no need for Fit Testing
  • P3 level protection (the best!)
The best option for employees who wish to keep their facial hair!

 

ABL Distribution offers Australia wide delivery of all Respiratory Protection.
In many areas of Brisbane, Logan, Gold Coast and Tweed, ABL offers free delivery. 

Please contact us for more information on respirators, fit testing or WH&S policies.
We are happy to help you.

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