What are two different types of respiratory protective equipment?

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is designed to protect wearers from airborne contaminants like fumes, asbestos, hazardous chemicals, dust and infectious substances, as well as to assist when working in confined spaces resulting in a lower level of oxygen being available.

In certain situations, practical control measures such as exhaust ventilation don’t eliminate or reduce the contamination in the air to an acceptable level, so a respirator is required.

There are two types of respirators; air-purifying respirators and supplied-air respirators.

  • Air purifying respirators protect the wearer by using a filter to purify the air that is being breathed in. They’re typically disposable or reusable and can be non-powered (using the wearer’s breath to draw the air through the filter) or powered (using a fan to draw the air through the filter).
  • A supplied-air respirator protects the wearer by supplying clean air from a standalone source, such as an air compressor. This type of respirator is vital in a low-oxygen situation, or where airborne contaminants are immediately dangerous to the life or health of the individual.