Respirator zones: Do you know when the OHS Act says you must have them?

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 31 Dec. 2014

Tags: ohs act, respirator zones, respirator equipment, ohs act regulations, ohs act respirator zone regulations

The OHS Act requires you to ensure the air your employees breathe is safe. But if they work around harmful substances, this can be difficult.

That’s why the OHS Act instructs you to create respirator zones in workplace.

Not sure what these are?

Then read on to find out what they are and when you need to create them…


This is what the OHS Act means by respirator zones

A respirator zone is an area in your workplace where your employees must wear respirator equipment. 
This is equipment that they wear on their face so it can filter harmfully dust or vapours from the air and ensure the air they breathe is clean and safe by the time it reaches their lungs. 
This is very important as it prevents poisoning, chemical burns to the throat and lungs and chest infections.
You have to clearly mark the zone with safety signs so your employees know when they need to wear their respirator equipment.
But do you know when you need to have one of these zones?
*********** Hot off the press  ************
Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer
When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses? 
Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations? 
There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations. 
Health and safety laws apply to EVERY company, if you have more than 20 employees you have even greater obligations.

Here’s when you need to have a respirator zone in your workplace

You need to have a clearly marked respirator zone whenever there’s an airborne substance (dust or chemical fumes) that exceeds the occupational exposure limit (OEL). 
The Department of Labour published the OELs in 1995 and you can find them in Tables one and two of the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Substances. 
You’ll also need a respirator zone if your employees work with hazardous chemicals, lead or asbestos. 
If you do, provide your employees with respirator equipment and clearly mark your respirator zones to keep them safe. 

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