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Breathing protection – Safe working with clean air

This is how to protect your employees

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Protection against particles

Dust protection masks provide protection against particles. They are available as disposable masks in the following versions:

1 Foldable: Practical for taking with you due to flat foldable mask body

2 Pre-formed: Easy to use due to pre-formed mask body

These protective masks are used during the grinding of brickwork, iron or paint as well as during the processing of glass and mineral fibres or asbestos, for example.

This is how you put the particle filter mask on properly:

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Protection against gases/vapours and particles

Re-usable masks

In order to be able to protect your employees against gases and vapours, you require special gas masks. These re-usable masks are used in the event of frequent use and when worn for long periods and are available in two versions:

3 Half-face masks: stable mask body which covers the mouth and nose

4 Full-face masks: respirator with additional face protection

If masks should also protect against particles, combination filters are the right choice. Here, particle and gas filters are integrated into a filter housing whereby the particle filter is always spatially arranged in front of the gas filter.

Breathing support systems

When worn for long periods and in tough work environments, breathing support systems are available. They are split into two categories:

5 Respirator systems with blower units: filtration of ambient air without hindering breathing (O2 content > 17%)

6 Compressed air systems: supply of clean air in the event of oxygen deficiency (O2 content ≤ 17%)

Breathing support systems are also available with a combination filter.

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Filter escape hoods and gas gauges

Personal protective equipment in this field also includes what are referred to as filter escape hoods.  They ensure adequate protection in emergencies if particle or gas hazards suddenly arise, for example. Also gas gauges warn the wearer if the limits of particular hazardous gases or vapours are exceeded.  

Do you have any questions? Our experts are keen to help you at any time:

To contact us about breathing protection advice

Special requirements for protective masks

Filter classes for respirators

Fine dust particles and aerosols in the breathable atmosphere are practically invisible and thus pose a major health risk in the working environment. Depending on the protection level and overall leakage, which refer to the filter penetration and leaks to the face and nose, particle filters are split into the following three classes:  

- FFP 1: protection against non-poisonous but mucous membrane-irritating particles and harmful substances

- FFP 2: for toxic particles and harmful substances (dusts, smoke, aerosols)

- FFP 3: for toxic, poisonous particles and harmful substances that are carcinogenic and radioactive (viruses, bacteria, mould spores). 

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Filter classes and codes on gas masks

Gas and combination filters are also split into three filter classes:
- Filter class 1: for harmful substance limit values below 0.1 Vol. %
- Filter class 2: for harmful substance limit values of 0.5 Vol. %, equating to full-face masks and blower systems
- Filter class 3: for harmful substance limit values from 1.0 Vol. % upwards, equating to blower systems or extraction systems. 

The colour markings and the letters on the masks also indicate against which types of gas the breathing protection acts. They simplify orientation at the work place. 

Some examples:

- “E” in yellow: sulphur oxides, hydrogen chloride and other acid gases
- “Hg” in red: mercury
- “K” in green: ammonia and organic ammonia derivatives 

Select the right breathing protection device

Product selection and consultation at the Hoffmann Group

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Quality-driven since 1919 – this is the mantra of the Hoffmann Group. Our portfolio in the field of personal protective equipment includes breathing protection devices from notable manufacturers of the highest quality. Whether it is particle filter masks, half- and full-face masks, respirators with blower unit, filter escape hoods or gas gauges – you will find we have the right product for every field of application.

If you require support with the equipping of your operation, our PPE specialists would be delighted to assist you. They are aware of the statutory regulations and have a wide view of the many manufacturers and models. At your request, we will also support you with hazard analyses, wearing tests and employee training sessions. 

Statutory regulations on breathing protection

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Respirators are classified as category 3 “Fatal injuries or serious and irreversible damage to health” under the Personal Protective Equipment Directive. Depending on the field of application, devices must also comply with additional statutory regulations. This includes:

- EN 143 for particle filters
- EN 14387 for gas and combination filters
- EN 149 for filtering half-face masks for protection against particles
- EN 405 for filtering half-face masks with a valve for protection against gases or particles
- EN 140 for half-face masks
- EN 136 for full-face masks
- EN 12941 for powered filtering devices incorporating a hood or helmet
- EN 403 for filtering escape devices (e.g. in the event of fire)

Frequent questions on breathing protection

Do you have any questions? Would you like to receive advice on PPE?

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The Hoffmann Group provides you with everything from a single source:

- We provide individual advice, tailored to your needs
- Risk analysis, help with product selection, wearing tests, training sessions and special service offers (glove plans, skin protection plans) 

Contact us now >

Personal protective equipment also includes: eye protection, hearing protection, foot protection, hand protection, head protection, protective work wear, work clothing, fall protection and skin protection. 

This takes you to the overview.