On-the-job PPE question
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  1. #1

    On-the-job PPE question

    Hi everyone, this is my first post, so if this post in the wrong section, please forgive me.

    My question is in regards to protective equipment to be used on-the-job. I recently got hired to run performance tests on fiberglass insulation. The labs have sheets of exposed fiberglass everywhere, but there are filtration systems in place to keep airborne fiber dust beneath permissible exposure limits - negating the "need" for a respirator (there is a second room where blow-in insulation is tested, and here a N95 respirator is required).

    Despite being under the PEL, following a 2 hour on-site interview I had an itchy throat (might be coincidental?). I'm wondering if you guys think I should wear a respirator even while I'm in the room under the PEL. None of the employees seemed to be affected, and I don't know if I'm just reacting to psychsomatic symptoms. Basically I'm curious to see what most people here would do if they worked in a room with fiberglass sheets for 8 hours a day.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Louisiana
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    How often do they test to see if it is below PEL? Is it close?

    If you feel the effects of it, good chance is that you should wear a respirator. Also, if you smoke, you should DEFINATELY consider wearing one.

    Don't feel the obligation to give in to peer pressure or ribbing by others; do what you think is right, but don't make a big stink over it since jobs are hard to come by.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    1- yes, this is in wrong forum

    hit the red triangle and ask a mod to relocate

    2- could be they have built up tolerance to the effects....

    3- try the little white dusk mask before you go with the NIOSH
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Near Chicago, IL
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    They don't want to provide respirators because that triggers a whole slew of OSHA regulations.

    The bigger question is do you really want to work in a situation where you breathe that stuff for an extended period of time?

    As LA1 mentioned, how often do they test? Is the equipment calibrated? I would assume that there is a real-time particle monitoring station. Otherwise, how do they know?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Agree with Dandy, get some quality disposable mask, and wear one for a few shifts. Don't make an issue of it, just wear one and see if it helps the throat irritation. If it does, then see your supervisor about seeing if company will furnish them for you. Sorry but you're asking the wrong bunch about this subject and we really have very little expertise about this! Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Thread moved to the General Section of the site.

    Carry on


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoo View Post
    Agree with Dandy, get some quality disposable mask, and wear one for a few shifts. Don't make an issue of it, just wear one and see if it helps the throat irritation. If it does, then see your supervisor about seeing if company will furnish them for you.
    +1 on this. If the company won't furnish you with dust masks, then that's very telling about their committment to safety considering the product they are testing. I'd work somewhere else.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the insight guys. I'll probably just wear a quality disposable respirator while I'm at work. I'm an avid runner and I'd rather not risk any persistent irritation/long term damage (even though there is little evidence of fiberglass causing adverse long term effects, short term irritation isn't a good sign in my opinion).

    I've flagged this post so the mods can relocate it if necessary. Once again, I appreciate you guys' input and I hope you all have a happy New Year

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    7,332
    Sometimes just the smell of insulation bothers me. Some of the duct wrap that is used has some kind of chemical like smell to it and whenever I am around it I seem to get choked up.

    Id wear a mask....

    I think to wear a respirator at a workplace you have to have a breathing test and then there would have to be someone there on site...like a safety guy...to provide training....take care of the masks etc....

    Funny story about respirators.....

    We had a contract where we were required to wear respirators in the building.... not going to say what was in there....but we had to wear them..... just the smell said....Im going to kill you if I can

    Anyhow....I go to my breathing test.....its supposed to be a best out of three thing.... I fail miserably on the first two tries.......and on the third I passed out.

    The company approved me to come in and work.

    Aint that funny.....and doesnt that show you how things in the workplace are...

    This place was so hot you couldnt breathe in their and you had to have the respirator on at all time.... If you made a mess somewhere you were not allowed to clean it up because it might stir up dust on the floor....

    I passed out during the breathing test.....but the company still ok'd me for work.

    That sh*thole closed down last month.....I hate it for the workers who lost their jobs.....but it will probably add years to their lives.

    Plant management and the safety team there..... They got what they deserved in my opinion.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Missouri
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    Corn, sad and not at all funny story. I've been around some industries in past where some employees had to be tested on regular intervals due to numerous possible exposures and if they tested high, then they had to be moved for period of time and retested before they were allowed back into original area. In my personal opinion IF I had to work in such conditions, I'd have to think long and hard about my own welfare and importance to my dependents along with eventual quality of life and long term benefits/health problems. Life is way to short to increase the chances of getting hit with a long term health problem from some company worrying about their bottom line profits just a little more than the effects upon their employees. I'm sure that's one of the reasons some of these companies are now overseas or in foreign countries hiring employees who don't think about anything other than feeding their families at any cost. When you're dying of thirst even muddy water looks good. So to speak. Sad. And another reason I've been self-employed for over 30 years!!! If my work environment is crap, well it doesn't take long to either change it or at least blame myself!

  11. #11
    Thanks for all the tips. I got fit-tested for a mask and I think I'll be wearing one as much as I can while I'm on the job

  12. #12
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    Good idea and good work. When in doubt, always go with safety in mind.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by laxmiddie View Post
    Thanks for all the tips. I got fit-tested for a mask and I think I'll be wearing one as much as I can while I'm on the job
    Remember OSHA regulations are minimum, if you feel better wearing extra PPE then go for it and good for you.

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