- Employees and contractors using face masks should understand the protection provided by different types of filters
- Please ensure that filters used in dusk masks are appropriate for the level of protection required
- To ensure that any mask (and filter) is working effectively all wearer’s should undergo face fit testing.
- It should be noted that face fit testing may not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the skin and the facepiece sealing surface such as stubble, beard, mustache, sideburns or low hairline which cross the respirator sealing surface.
- Contact your local SHE Advisor or appropriate safety advisor if unsure or needing assistance
Information on filter coding
All filter cartridges have ID information printed on them that that allows you to identify the filter and the protection they offer. Filters use letters, numbers and colour coding to define the protection they offer. Dust mask filters for protection against particulates are marked with a ‘P’ and are colour coded ‘WHITE’. They also have a number representing the protection they offer (1 for low efficiency, 2 for medium efficiency, 3 for high efficiency). This number refers to the Assigned Protect Factor (APF), with:
P1 offering an APF of 4,
P2 offering an APF of 10
P3 offering an APF of 20.
The APF indicates how much protection that particular filter is capable of providing. Eg. A filter with an APF of 10 will reduce the wearer’s exposure by at least a factor of 10 if used properly (ie The wearer will only breathe in one-tenth or less of the amount of substance present in the air).
Please note that full face masks and air flow masks are available that offer an APF of 40.
The table below shows the colour, letter and number coding for each type of filter.