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  • Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) - Care & Maintenance

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) - Care & Maintenance

  • Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) - Care & Maintenance

    Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) - Care & Maintenance

    Every welder uses RPE but do you inspect it regularly and keep records of this, for at least five years?

    The list of requirements and guidance is extensive and, of course, we recommend you do your own research and seek advice as needed but here is a brief overview.

    The HSE Recommend you should implement a suitable procedure for the examination and testing of powered respiratory protective equipment, ensuring that: 

    a. The maintenance, examination and testing of powered respiratory protective equipment is carried out by competent person(s) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and at suitable intervals.

    b. Examinations include a thorough visual examination and check of all parts of the respirator to ensure all parts are present, correctly fitted and that the equipment is in good working order.

    c. Tests include a check on the condition and efficiency of the parts of the respirator, ensuring that the battery pack is in good condition and that the respirator delivers the manufactures recommended minimum volume flow rate.

    The HSE Practical Guide HSG53 is available HERE.

    Carrying Out RPE Maintenance 

    There are five key points you should follow when carrying out RPE maintenance:

    1.     Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    2.     A competent person should carry out the work.

    3.     Keep records. HERE is a sample Record Card which may be of assistance. 

    4.     Ensure the intervals for maintenance are appropriate.

    5.     The maintenance programme should reflect the complexity of maintaining the RPE.

    Ideally, any parts that require replacing will be sourced from the original manufacturer of the RPE. This will ensure any replacement parts continue to allow the equipment to operate as originally intended and perform to the standards that ensure the RPE offers the protection stated by the manufacturer.

    You must keep records of examination and testing, and any repairs made, for at least five years.

    Key maintenance tasks include:

    ·        changing any replaceable filters;

    ·        cleaning the device;

    ·        valve maintenance and replacement;

    ·        checking the straps for damage;

    ·        checking the battery charge and flow rate for powered devices. 

    The term ‘Ensure the intervals for maintenance are appropriate’ is vague but point 29 of the HSG53 says

    "In addition, you must ensure that reusable RPE undergoes thorough examination and, where appropriate, testing at suitable intervals. This should be monthly, or every three months if used less frequently. This will not only make sure the RPE protects the wearer but will also extend the life of the equipment and so maximise your investment."

    If the user is facing hazards that require a frequent use of the PAPR then the need to check and record Weekly may be a ‘suitable interval’ – this is something only you and your companies can decide and implement.

    We hope you have found the attached to be of interest and please do not hesitate to contact the Rapid Team sales@rapidwelding.com if we can be of any help or you need to discuss upgrading your RPE or require any replacement items.













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