Some of the world’s largest infrastructures are not possible without the magic of welding. Welding had given so much contribution to the industrial arena over the years. Aside from that, it has given countless opportunities to people to work in countries these people have never imagined themselves working into. Since this is a job that deals with sparkly rods that hit metals to attach metals, welders need protection too. Just like the people in the medical field, they also have their own set of PPE or Personal Protective Equipment.
Their PPE is also a specialized one. They consist of non-ionizing radiation goggles, helmets, face shields, hand shields, and of course, a facepiece or a mask. Why a mask? Those sparkly rods, once it hit metals, it releases a stench that is actually toxic once inhaled. Gas tanks also release fumes that are lethal and volatile. If welders fail to use a suitable mask, it can cause grave harm to their respiratory health.
N95 mask as a face mask for welders
Aside from those recommended masks that are appropriate for welding, the N95 mask is also a viable candidate to be utilized. An N95 mask is a device created to provide respiratory protection. It filters up to 95% of airborne particles. The N95 mask can also filter small aerosol particles and even large droplets.
How effective is the N95 mask in protecting welders?
Welding uses gas tanks and welding rods that exude fumes that are not lungs-friendly, and since the N95 mask can filter airborne particles, it can also filter particles like dust and smoke. With a tight fit, the N95 mask can guarantee safety while working with toxic gases. In fact, the N95 mask is a staple in the construction industry. With its established reputation, the N95 mask is also used as an alternative mask in exchange for those high-graded masks which are often expensive.
Are there models of the N95 mask that are suitable for welders?
Yes, there are models of the N95 mask that are suitable for welders. The N95 mask has a variety of models, depending on use and its demand. There is an N95 mask created for a particular use. Here are some of the N95 mask models that are suitable for welding.
The 3M 8212
This N95 mask model is a disposable type. With its guaranteed 95% filtration ability, this N95 mask model is also best to use while working on soldering machines where toxic fumes are present. It is also compatible with the eyewear that is commonly used by the welders. This N95 mask model can also help in protecting the welders every time they do torch cutting and brazing.
The 3M 8515
This N95 mask model from 3M is a cost-effective option for welders. This is widely used due to its convenience and economy. This N95 mask model has an exhalation valve that lessens the accumulation of heat inside it. Guaranteed flame resistant, this disposable N95 mask is proven to give the welders the protection they need every time they start working with metal fumes.
The 3M Aura Particulate Respirator 06923 + Gen3
This respirator is graded FFP2, which is similar to the works of an N95 mask. Like 8515, this N95 mask has an exhalation valve. Also, this mask can aid in redirecting exhaled air that reduces the fogging of the eyewear. With its smooth inner cover, it gives the welder an easier way of breathing without suffocation.
The 3M 8214 Welding Particulate Respirator
This particulate respirator is a NIOSH approved N95 mask. This is used in applications that involve metal fumes. This N95 mask model has a carbon filter medium that aids in the reduction of the nuisance level of natural vapors. With its foam faceseal, this is proven to give the welder a comfortable fit without being smothered.
The 3M 8210
Unlike the other N95 mask models, this particulate respirator does not have any filter or valve. Probably the most popular N95 mask model across the globe. Despite not having a valve, this still ensures safety to anyone who wears this; especially welders. With its capacity to filter 95% of airborne particles, this N95 mask also provides comfort and protection against oil and smoke.
How to properly fit the N95 mask and its models?
Despite being made according to their individual demands and purposes, the N95 mask models have a common set of instructions to follow when fitting.
- With reverse side up and using tabs, separate the top and bottom panels of the N95 mask.
- Pull the nose panel and chin tabs and until the N95 mask’s nose clip bends. With that, the N95 mask forms a cup shape.
- While holding the tabs, hold the N95 mask open side towards the face and bring the respirator to the face.
- There are separate instructions for valved and non-valved N95 masks. For valve type, using one hand, hold the sides of the valve to hold the respirator position on the face. For the unvalved, cup respirator in one hand with the open side towards the face.
- The N95 mask has straps. With other hands, take each strap in turn and pull each strap over your head.
- Straps of the N95 mask must not be twisted. The upper strap should be placed across the crown of the head and the lower strap should be below the ears. To ensure comfort, adjust both the top and bottom panels to your liking, using the tabs. Panels must not be folded and the tabs must be folded flat.
- Mold the nose clip following the shape of your nose to ensure a close fit and seal. For effective performance, use both hands in pinching the nose clip of the N95 mask.
- Check the fit and seal of your N95 mask before entering the workplace.
Although welders are advised to have those high-grade face masks that work better than the N95 mask, trying these models also guarantees safety and precaution. The N95 mask has proven its name and has established already a reputation in providing protection. So that more welders can take part in the continuous industrial advancement, with safety and precaution.