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The Evolution of PPE - Respirators

Posted By Stephanie Hancox on 2017-09-19 09:01

From hard hats to safety glasses, PPE has became a mandatory stable for tradesman within the industrial industry. Defined as personal equipment which when worn correctly minimises the risk of exposure to serious workplace incidents. Unfortunately PPE is often overlooked which results in the the large number of incidents we often see through the media platforms. 

The use of respirators in world war 1 was the first well documented use of PPE which has developed from the well know early version of respirators commonly known as gas masks to the wide range of respirators which protects the wearer from a wide spectrum of pollutants. 

Looking further back in history there are also reports of the Roman Empire whom used animal bladders to mimic the respirators we know today. The animal bladders were believed to protect the minors from inhaling harmful toxins such as iron oxide dusts. This idea was pioneered by 'Pliny the Elder'. 

Luckily for the miners, the practice of using animal bladders evolved to the many advances and recreations of the 'respirator'. During the 16th century; Leonardo Da Vinci advised the improvement of using damp cloths in replacement to animal bladders however he advised this method more towards the protection from toxic agents of chemical warfare. With the charcoal gas filter mask being invented by the 20th century being a further advancement, which adopted the name of being 'the firemans' respirator'. 

 Prior to the 'Firemans Respirator'. The Haslett lung  protector, which combined the use of one way valves  with which the additional use of a porous substance such  as moistened wool, filtered out dust pollutants. 

 The increase in demand for appropriate PPE to protect a  worker whose eyes and lungs were at risk beaconed the  the development of the current widely used PAPR   (Powered Air Purifying Respirators). This incorporated  both eye and lung protection in one 'helmet'. The Haslett Lung Protector was further Improved in design and was coined the 'Huston Hurds Design'.  This improved version was then used up until the 1970's.



Since world war 1, Respirators have became more popular and the technology has advanced from using animal bladders to the respirators we use today which come in a large variety dependent on which pollutants you are mostly at risk of being exposed to. For further information along with information on our respiratory surveilance and face-fit testing, please visit ... . Or browse our wide range of half-masks ... or disposable masks


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