Seatbelts, stab vests, and even PPE, or personal protection equipment, are designed for men. Improperly fitted PPE has been shown to perform inadequately for 57% of women, according to research cited in a resolution discussion (AMA). Not only does this impact women, but it also impacts men who don’t fit the traditional build of a worker. Women play a key role in construction and other trade industries, especially in Alaska, and should be advocated for. Furthermore, “A survey by The Center for Construction Research and Training found that 77% of 174 tradeswomen said they were exposed to unnecessary hazards because of ill-fitting PPE” (DOL).
When we think about PPE we also often think about industries such as construction, or medical professions. Can you think of other places people may be exposed to chemicals? In two female dominated industries—nail salons and cleaning businesses—women make up the majority of workers. Did you know both work places can expose workers to harmful toxins?
So don’t just let the mask sit; make it fit.
Masks and respirators are not the same. Respirators are a specific kind of mask, ensuring every breath you take is filtered. For them to work effectively, the fit is vital. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the mask and the face, and it’s often recommended to remove facial hair to ensure the best seal. Even a small gap can be a problem. Typically, head loops offer a better fit than ear loops.
Depending on the mask’s use and type, there’s either qualitative or quantitative fit testing. The industry you’re in and the mask type you wear will dictate the specifics. If you need more insights on mask fitting or its type, we can guide you. Please give us a call to discuss your mask fit needs further. Also, remember: significant weight changes or major dental work might present the need for a new mask fit test.
Personal Protective Equipment is not just masks.
When considering PPE, remember that protection goes beyond just masks or facial gear. Ill-fitting vests, either too large or small, can hinder safe and efficient job performance. Pants that are too long can be tripping hazards, negating their protective intent. It’s essential to provide correctly sized uniforms, especially if staff experience weight fluctuations. Even gloves, whether for carpenters or nurses, must fit right to ensure safety.
MedPhysicals Plus is here to assist with questions about PPE and Mask-Fit. Visit our webpage to learn more: https://medphysicalsplus.com/respirator-fit/