General Respiratory Protection

  • What is the difference between negative and positive pressure respirators? Negative pressure respirators, such as N95s masks, rely on the user’s lungs to draw ambient air in from their environment and through this action, the air is filtered through the mask’s material. Because this relies on the user’s lungs to draw the air, negative pressure respirators are tight-fitting creating a seal against the user’s face. Fit tests are to be completed annually on operators with these systems. A positive pressure respirator gets its air from either a PAPR (powered air purifying respirator) or SAR (supplied air respirator). The air is pushed through the users breathing tube either by a fan or compressor and into the headtop, which allows them to breathe as they normally would. The supply of air creates positive pressure inside the respirator as this is greater than the environment that surrounds the system. Because of this, any external air is prevented from entering the system keeping the user safe. Positive pressure respirators do not require any fit testing.
  • What is a fit test? This checks to see whether a respirator fits on the user's face properly and is preventing the ambient air from entering. These should be completed annually when using a tight-fitting face mask such as an N95 or negative pressure respirator, and are part of the requirements for the respiratory protection standard. Fit testing is not required for loose-fitting respirators.
  • What does APF mean? APF stands for assigned protection factor, and refers to the level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators provide.
  • What does PEL mean? The permissible exposure limit refers to the legal limit of exposure for an employee to a chemical substance or physical agent. PELs are based on an 8-hour shift with a time weighted average (TWA).
  • What is a PAPR? A PAPR is a powered air purifying respirator. These operate by drawing in ambient air from in the user’s immediate environment and filtering this through a filter. The air is pushed by a fan through a breathing tube into the users headtop where they can breathe safely in environments with contaminants and particulates. *Select a filter based on the hazards present in your environment.
  • What is the difference between SAR and PAPR? A supplied air respirator (SAR) draws ambient air from a compressor which is located in an area outside the user’s immediate environment where the breathing air is uncontaminated and free of particulates. The user is connected directly to this system by its breathing tube and the airline is also connected to a filtration system after the air compressor. A PAPR is portable, filtering the ambient air in the user’s immediate environment.
  • Can climate be controlled when using a PAPR? No, there is not enough airflow to cool incoming air. However, depending on the temperature of the ambient air the PAPR is drawing in, this can cool the user down as air is directed around the users headtop. This is similar to using a fan in a warm to room to provide air movement.
  • What is the purpose of a pre-filter? Pre-filters extend the life of a PAPR by trapping large particulates before they enter the main filter.
  • HE vs HEPA filters: HE and HEPA filters are both designed to prevent contaminants and particulates from entering the user’s respiratory system. These are both made from the same material; however, HE filters have a greater filtration capacity providing a better level of protection.
  • Can a PX5 be decontaminated? Yes, the PX5 is rated to IP65 in use and IP67 with cleaning kit in place. Please refer to the disinfecting document for full instructions.
  • Are respirators and headtops different products? No, these are the same thing.
  • What is the difference between a headtop and a hood? The headtop is the main component to your respiratory protection, this is what goes on your head. The hood is what is placed over the headtop to create the seal around the body/neck and the respirator. The Tychem hoods can be removed and replaced, as necessary.
  • What is the difference between a bump cap and hard hat protection: Bump caps provide head protection against minor knocks, whereas hard hat protection is certified to an ANSI or EN standard and performs to the requirements of these certifications.
  • What is the difference between safety lens and non-safety lens? For users that require eye protection, respirators with a safety lens will provide the correct level of protection. Non-safety lens respirators still have a visor that protects the eyes, but they are not certified to the same rigorous protection standard. A safety lens provides splash protection to the eyes and is a certified to Z87+. A non-safety lens is a visor that protects the eyes from overspray and/or low impact. Some lenses such as the Z-Link’s have the Z87+ rating which provide high impact protection for the user.

RPB T-Link

  • Will I still be protected if I have facial hair? Yes, loose fitting respirators do not require fit testing and can accommodate for facial hair.
  • What is the assigned protection factor? APF of greater than 1000.

RPB Z-Link

  • Can I wear optical aids with the visor down? Yes, the Z-Link's design allows enough space to accommodate optical aids while in use.
  • How much does the Z-Link weigh? 1.95lbs


  • How many microns does the HE Filter, filter down to? The 03-892 filter media will filter 99.97% of all particulates down to 0.12 microns.
  • How much does the PX5 weigh? The PX5 weighs from 2.55lbs.

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