How To Keep Safe Breathing ZonesSource: Flow Sciences Inc.
By Jason Frye
When handling powders or working with fumes and vapors, inhalation hazards are always a risk. In these situations, it’s imperative to keep your breathing zone safe.
But what is your breathing zone?
Though some safety officers and organizations may define it differently, the breathing zone is generally accepted as a 10” radius around the mouth and nose, or a hemisphere forward of the shoulders extending 6”-9”.
According to Charlyn Peart, Senior Manager – Industrial Hygiene, Health and Safety with IES Engineers, no matter the definition, controlling employee exposure to breathing hazards and the safety of their breathing zones are integral elements in ensuring employees don’t exceed Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL) set internally or by a larger oversight organization.
In order to keep breathing zones safe, Peart performs an Employee Exposure Assessment.
“When we perform an Employee Exposure Assessment, we look at three areas: the sources of exposure, the physical properties of the chemical or agent being worked with, and the exposure limits and measured health effects of the chemical or agent in question,” said Peart.