Air-Purifying Respirator

Last updated: August 28, 2020

What Does Air-Purifying Respirator Mean?

An air-purifying respirator is a piece of protective equipment worn to prevent hazardous airborne particulates from being inhaled by the wearer. The equipment is comprised of a face mask with a filter and cartridge. The air-purifying respirator is recommended for environments where airborne particulates are found but not for environments with hazardous vapors, gases, or fumes.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Air-Purifying Respirator

The air-purifying respirator is one of two main types of respirator found in the workplace, the other being an atmosphere-supplying respirator. The air-purifying respirator works by filtering the contaminated air and allowing the clean air to pass through for the wearer to inhale. There are 4 types of air-purifying respirators. These are particulate, gas and vapor, combination, and powered air-purifying respirator. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets out the guidelines for employers to select the appropriate protective equipment for the environment their employees are exposed to. Employers can use the following classification system assigned to respirators according to the airborne particulates present. These are N series for environments with no oil, R series for exposure to oil particulates for up to 8 hours, and S series for exposure to any environment.


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