What's the different between a dust mask and a respirator?
From time to time you’ll hear people referring to dust masks and respirators, so it’s understandable that people might get confused and ask: “what’s the difference between a dust mask and a respirator”. Technically, a dust mask is a piece of respiratory protective equipment and its right to refer to a dust mask as a respirator.
Like many other industries, working in construction can lead to serious damage to a person’s lungs if they inhale dust from construction activities. There is a variety of different respiratory protective equipment (RPE) on the market, however most of us will be familiar with the traditional disposable dust mask that slips over the face and cover the mouth and nose.
The disposable dust masks are broken down into FFP1 dust masks, FFP2 dust masks, FFP3 dust masks. The dust masks are only designed to filter out dust and should not be used to safeguard the wearer in an oxygen deficient atmosphere of where harmful gasses and vapours are present.
FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 dust masks can reduce the amount of dust you breathe by factors of 4, 10 and 20 respectively and if you’re working in an environment of heavy dust or where there’s the possibility of spores (such as places with dry and / or wet rot) you should always choose the FFP3 dust mask.
Dust masks are generally disposable as well, and the wearer should be encouraged to change them regularly, during and between tasks as they quickly become contaminated and clogs by dust particles.