Protecting Respiratory Health: Why Mask Fit Matters in the Workplace 

Do you observe any of your employees displaying any of these signs? 

-a cough, phlegm, dyspnea, or breathing problems, and wheezing…

RSP, or a restrictive spirometry pattern, is characterized by these typical symptoms. In 2023, a brand-new report on the dangers of RSP to construction workers was published.

“The researchers discovered that 28.6% of 18,145 participating construction workers developed RSP. Results showed those with RSP were at an increased risk of all-cause death, and death from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer” (Duke University).  

The study’s outcomes were also directly tied to the construction sector, which was another finding.

“Asbestos workers had the highest prevalence of RSP at 35.3%, followed by teamsters, which are truck drivers, at 32.9%, and boilermakers ranked third with a prevalence of 31.2%. Plumbers, steamfitters, and pipefitters ranked fifth at 29.0%, and electricians ranked seventh at 28.4%.” 

RSP and other respiratory problems can only be avoided by choosing the right mask and having it fitted. Spirometry testing personnel can assist in identifying problems at the workplace, prevent and reverse the effects of an improperly fitting mask.

Why is mask-fit so important? 

-Masks if too large or too small can allow dangerous toxins to be inhaled. See our guide on mask-fitting in this earlier article here.

-Comfort and compliance: Protecting workers with the appropriate fit helps them feel comfortable at job and ensure you are compliant with OSHA’s safety protocols. 

-Effective filtration… to keep workers safe and limit the number of sick days. 

Source: 3M

When was the last time you conducted a safety assessment of your workplace? Have you considered what chemicals you are working with? What are the chances workers would be inhaling something unsafe for the human body? Check out this exposure assessment on 3M’s website to think through this critically. We also recommend this resource: Respiratory Employee Protection Guide

When you are ready, get started by visiting our website to learn more about our mask-fit options for your employees. 

Protect your employees now.