Respirator selection tool
Developed by the Health and Safety Executive, NHS Health Scotland and Healthy Working Lives (HWL), the Respirator selection tool has been developed to help workplaces find the right respirator for their employees and help manage their respiratory protection programme.
The tool was developed by the Health and Safety Executive, NHS Health Scotland and Healthy Working Lives (HWL). This tool can be used by New Zealand workplaces to assist in choosing and managing the correct respiratory protection, however there are some important points listed below that you need to read and consider before using this tool for your workplace.
Before using this tool in a New Zealand workplace, you must be aware of the following:
- Qualifiers. Please be aware of the ‘qualifiers’ given on the Step 1 of the tool.
- New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment. The UK respirator selector tool is based on the Health and Safety Executive’s RPE guidance HSG53. In the UK, the RPE standards differ from the New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 1715:2009) in terms of the protection level allocated to different types of respirators. As such using this tool does not necessarily meet the requirements of the selection of RPE as per AS/NZS 1715. However the UK protection levels are equal to, or are more conservative (tougher) than the New Zealand standards for more than 90% of the respirator types listed in AS/NZS 1715. The exceptions are given in Table 1 below. If your assessment recommends one of the respirator types listed in Table 1, please seek expert advice to determine if the recommendation complies with AS/NZS 1715.
- Fit testing should be carried out when the worker is first provided with a close fitting respirator and at least annually, or wherever there is a change in the wearers facial characteristics or other features which may affect the facial seal (reference AS/NZS 1715:2009). Search the Yellow Pages or internet for a consultant that does respirator fit testing, or ask your RPE manufacturer, or supplier.
- HSNO classifications and H-numbers. This tool uses H-numbers to identify the health risks of the substances concerned. On New Zealand safety data sheets the H-number is not always present, though H-statements (a phrase that describes the health risk) must be present. If your SDS doesn’t show H-numbers, use Table 2 below to convert from either the HSNO classifications to H-numbers, or the H-statements to H-numbers. You may have multiple H-numbers for your substance. If the substance has no HSNO Classification or the H-numbers for your substance aren’t listed, select ‘none of the above H-statements apply’ in Step 6 of the tool.
- Confined spaces. If working in, or entering confined spaces please read this guidance
- HSNO controls. Toxic, flammable or corrosive substances are subject to HSNO controls. Please see the following for guidance
- Advice or expert help. If you are not confident selecting respiratory protection, or using the Selector Tool, seek help from your RPE supplier, RPE manufacturer, or a competent consultant via www.hasanz.org.nz(external link); or search the yellow pages(external link).
- Worksafe resources: Worksafe New Zealand’s website provides essential information for RPE selection. Se Respiratory Protective Equipment – Advice for workers
WorkSafe is not responsible for the contents or reliability of the linked websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. For further information see our disclaimer
Table 1: Respirator comparison – HSG53 (2013) compared with AS/NZS 1715 (2009)
|Respirator type||UK Assigned protection factor (Ref HSG53)||AS/NZS 1715 required minimum protection factor|
|Disposable ½ face respirator with P3 filter||20||Not listed|
|Reusable ½ face respirator with P3 filter for mechanically or thermally generated particulates||20||< 10|
|Full face piece respirator with P1 filter||4||Not listed|
|Powered respirator with full face piece and P1 filter for thermally generated particulates||10||Not listed|
|Powered respirator with hood for gas/vapour||10-40||Not listed|
|Airline + full suit for mechanically or thermally generated particulates||10-200||Not listed|
|Airline + full suit for gas/vapour||10-200||100+|
|Self-contained breathing apparatus positive pressure demand||2000||100+|
|Positive pressure demand airline with full face piece||2000||100+|
Look on your safety data sheet for the HSNO classifications. Using the table below, write down all the corresponding H numbers for your HSNO classifications. Use the H numbers in the E-tool.
Table 2: HSNO classification and equivalent H-numbers
|HSNO Classification||Equivalent H No.||Equivalent H Statement|
|6.1A oral or 6.1B oral||H300||Fatal if swallowed|
|6.1C oral||H301||Toxic if swallowed|
|6.1D oral||H302||Harmful if swallowed|
|6.1E aspiration hazard||H304||May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways|
|6.1A dermal||H310||Fatal in contact with skin|
|6.1B dermal or 6.1C dermal||H311||Toxic in contact with skin|
|6.1D dermal||H312||Harmful in contact with skin|
|6.1A inhalation or 6.1B inhalation||H330||Fatal if inhaled|
|6.1C inhalation||H331||Toxic if inhaled|
|6.1D inhalation||H332||Harmful if inhaled|
|6.1E||H335||May cause respiratory irritation|
|6.3A or 6.3B||H315||Causes skin irritation|
|6.4A||H319||Causes serious eye irritation|
|6.5A||H334||May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled|
|6.5B||H317||May cause an allergic skin reaction|
|6.6A||H340||May cause genetic defects|
|6.6B||H341||Suspected of causing genetic defects|
|6.7A||H350||May cause cancer|
|6.7B||H351||Suspected of causing cancer|
|6.8A||H360||May damage fertility or the unborn child|
|6.8B||H361||Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child|
|6.8C||H362||May cause harm to breast-fed children|
|6.9A single exposure||H370||Causes damage to organs|
|6.9A repeated exposure||H372||Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure|
|6.9B single exposure||H371||May cause damage to organs|
|6.9B repeated exposure||H373||May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure|
|8.2A or 8.2B or 8.2C||H314||Causes severe burns and eye damage|
|8.3A||H318||Causes serious eye damage|
The RPE selector tool can be found at: www.healthyworkinglives.com/rpe-selector(external link)