Our training utilizes the exclusive OSHA accepted HAZWOPER Hands-on Simulator that provides a realistic program for donning and doffing of PPE to help satisfy the OSHA 40 hour HAZWOPER course requirements. Also, in house subject matter experts are available for any questions or comments during the training. Inhalation is the number source of contamination to workers at HAZWOPER sites. Accordingly, we have place this information on this web page to help you better understand the different types of respirators. Please make sure you wear the appropriate respiratory protection for work at a HAZWOPER site.
40 Hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) Respirators
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
A 40 Hour HAZWOPER self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) usually consists of a facepiece connected by a hose and a regulator to an air source (compressed air, compressed oxygen, or an oxygen-generating chemical) carried by the wearer. SCBAs offer protection against most types and levels of airborne contaminants. However, the duration of the air supply is an important planning factor in SCBA use. This is limited by the amount of air carried and its rate of consumption. In addition, SCBAs are bulky and heavy; thus, they increase the likelihood of heat stress and may impair movement in confined spaces. Under MSHA regulations in 30 CFR Part 11.70(a), SCBAs may be approved for both entry into and escape from a hazardous atmosphere or escape only.
Escape-Only SCBA Respirators
During 40 hour HAZWOPER work, Escape-only SCBAs are frequently continuous-flow devices with hoods that can be donned to provide immediate emergency protection. Employers should provide and ensure that employees carry an escape SCBA where such emergency protection may be necessary.
Entry-and-Escape SCBA Respirators
40 hour HAZWOPER entry-and-escape SCBA respirators include an air tank worn by the worker. Entry and escape SCBAs give workers untethered (i.e., unrestricted) access to nearly all portions of the work site. However, they decrease worker mobility, particularly in confined areas, because of the bulk and weight of the units. Their use is particularly advisable when dealing with unidentified and unquantified airborne contaminants. Generally, these 40 hour HAZWOPER SCBAs are required of workers operating in oxygen deficient atmospheres (under 19.5 percent), in contaminated zones, and in atmospheres that are Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH).
Two types of entry-and-escape SCBAs are:
– Open-circuit In an open-circuit SCBA, air is exhaled directly into the ambient atmosphere.
– Closed-Circuit In a closed-circuit SCBA, exhaled air is recycled by removing the carbon dioxide with an alkaline scrubber and by replenishing the consumed oxygen with oxygen from a solid, liquid, or gaseous source.
As required by MSHA/NIOSH 30 CFR Part 11.80, all 40 hour HAZWOPER compressed breathing gas cylinders must meet minimum U.S. Department of Transportation requirements for HAZWOPER interstate shipment. (For further information, see 49 CFR Part 173 and 178.) All compressed air, compressed oxygen, liquid air, and liquid oxygen used for respiration shall be of high purity and must meet all requirements of OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.134(d). In addition, breathing air must meet or exceed the requirements of Grade D breathing air as specified in the Compressed Gas Association pamphlet G-7.1 and ANSI Z86.1-1973.
Deciding the Appropriate Use of SCBA for the 40 hour HAZWOPER course.
Key questions should be asked when considering whether an SCBA is appropriate for HAZWOPER work:
– Is the 40 hour HAZWOPER atmosphere IDLH or is it likely to become IDLH? If yes, a positive-pressure SCBA should be used. A positive-pressure SAR with an escape SCBA may also be used.
– Is the duration of air supply sufficient for accomplishing the necessary tasks? If no, a larger cylinder should be used, a different respirator should be chosen, and/or the work plan should be modified.
– Will the bulk and weight of the SCBA interfere with task performance or cause unnecessary stress? If yes, use of a SAR may be more appropriate if conditions permit.
– Will temperature effects compromise respirator effectiveness or cause added stress in the worker? If yes, the workperiod should be shortened or the mission postponed until the temperature changes.
What Are Supplied-Air Respirators (SARs)?
40 hour HAZWOPER Supplied-air respirators, also known as air line respirators, supply AIR never oxygen to a facepiece via a supply line from a stationary source. SARs are available in positive-pressure and negative-pressure modes. Pressure-demand SARs with escape provisions provide the highest level of protection (among SARs) at 40 hour hazwoper sites and are the only SARs recommended for use at hazardous waste sites. SARs are NOT recommended for entry into IDLH atmospheres (MSHA/NIOSH 30 CFR Part 11) unless the apparatus is equipped with an escape SCBA. These are a must to use during 40 hour HAZWOPER work.
The air source for supplied-air respirators used for 40 hour HAZWOPER work may be compressed air cylinders or a compressor that purifies and delivers ambient air to the facepiece. SARs suitable for use with compressed air are classified as “Type C” supplied-air respirators as defined in MSHA/NIOSH 30 CFR Part II. All SAR coupling must be incompatible with the outlets of other gas systems used on-site to prevent a worker from connecting to an inappropriate compressed gas source (OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134(d)).
SARs enable longer work periods than do SCBAs and are less bulky. However, the air line impairs worker mobility and requires workers to retrace their steps when leaving the area. Also, the air line is vulnerable to puncture from rough or sharp surfaces, chemical permeation, damage from contact with heavy equipment, and obstruction from falling drums, etc. To the extent possible, all such hazards should be removed prior to use. When in use, air lines should be kept as short as possible (300 feet or 90 meters is the longest approved hose length for SARs). Other workers and vehicles should be kept away from the air line.
The use of air compressors as the air source for an SAR at a 40 hour hazwoper hazardous waste site is severely limited by the same concern that requires workers to wear respirators; the questionable quality of the ambient air. On-site compressor use is limited by OSHA standards (29 CFR Part 1910.134(d)).
Deciding the Appropriate Use of 40 hour HAZWOPER SAR Key questions to ask when considering SAR use are:
– Is the atmosphere IDLH or likely to become IDLH? If yes, SAR/SCBA combination or SCBA is necessary.
– Will the hose significantly impair worker mobility? If yes, the work task should be modified or other respiratory protection should be used.
– Is there a danger of the air line being damaged or obstructed (e.g., by heavy equipment, falling drums, rough terrain, or sharp objects) or permeated and/or degraded by chemicals (e.g., by pools of chemicals)? If yes, either the hazard should be removed or another form of respiratory protection should be used.
– If a compressor is the air source for 40 hour HAZWOPER work, is it possible for airborne contaminants to enter the air system? If yes, have the contaminants been identified, and are efficient filters and/or sorbents available that are capable of removing those contaminants? If no, either cylinders should be used as the air source or another form of respiratory protection should be used.
– Can other workers and vehicles that might interfere with the air line be kept away from the area? If no, another form of respiratory protection should be used. HAZWOPER refresher training must also be given to maintain the certification.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Use
Most 40 hour HAZWOPER PPE and the organizational operating procedures for employee use are not designed for multiple hazards and prolonged periods of use. The selection and use of PPE may need to be adjusted to provide adequate protection during disaster operations when site hazards are varied and work shifts are extended. For example, a cartridge change schedule designed for routine use during a standard 8-hour shift will need to be reevaluated for use during a 12-hour shift (assuming the same level of exposure). If exposures are anticipated to be higher during the extended period and/or additional chemicals will be present, respirator cartridges may need to be changed more frequently, a different set of cartridges may be necessary, or a more protective respirator may be required. Similar adjustments may be necessary for other types of PPE, particularly chemical protective clothing. Additionally, 40 hour HAZWOPER PPE use and, in particular, the use of respiratory protection, poses a physiological burden under normal working conditions during traditional working hours. This burden will likely be increased if the PPE or respiratory protection is used for extended work shifts/rotations.
What Are HAZWOPER Site Conditions and Other Potential Hazards?
40 hour HAZWOPER disasters create uniquely challenging physical and environmental conditions for workers, including: non-existent, damaged, or limited critical infrastructure (roads/traffic signals, utilities, transportation/distribution of basic necessities, etc.); downed power and communication lines; vegetative, construction, and hazardous debris; flooding; hazardous material releases; limited temporary housing (for victims and workers); and damaged or collapsed commercial structures and homes. In addition to these conditions, the volume of resources needed to restore the area after a large-scale disaster will likely exceed those available in the affected communities. Resources, including workers, will need to be brought in from outside the local area, creating a host of logistical issues (e.g., locating, staging, and housing goods and workers; credentialing for out-of-state professionals; and training critical skilled workers unfamiliar with disaster work). These HAZMAT site conditions and circumstances affect workers’ physiological capabilities, influencing their performance and impacting their safety and health decision-making.
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