Definition - What does Atmosphere-Supplying Respirator mean?
An atmosphere-supplying respirator is a type of respirator that delivers clean, breathable air from either a stationary source and/or portable air tank carried on the back. Three classes of atmosphere-supplying respirators are available for occupational use including supplied-air respirators (SAR), combination atmosphere-supplying respirators, and self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA). Each respirator model is specially designed to deliver air to its user featuring a pressurized face-piece mask and a control/demand valve connected to hoses feeding oxygen from a compressor unit and/or portable air cylinder.
WorkplaceTesting explains Atmosphere-Supplying Respirator
The utility of atmosphere-supplying respirators reflects several factors including the type of hazardous elements, toxic concentration levels, oxygen depletion, and exposure duration. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides a framework that guides employers in choosing the appropriate respirator models that fits their health and safety protection program. For this reason, companies must be familiar with the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) and the Maximum Use Concentration (MUC) model in terms of purchasing and reserving the correct respiratory protective equipment in an emergency scenario.
APF serves to vouch for optimal efficiency of a respirator(s) coinciding with MUC level protection against particular hazardous elements in the external atmosphere. This means that employees are expected to feel confident that the respirators a company uses will preserve their life in an accident and/or disaster situation.
However, SAR respirators are generally prohibited from use in immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) conditions given their limited functionality. Alternatively, some combination atmosphere-supplying respirators (full face-piece mask) and SCBA respirators are exclusively manipulated for this purpose. IDLH circumstances consistently demand respirators that contain high pressure oxygen tanks that are portable and deliver clean air within a designated time frame, expediting rescue operation procedures.