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Respiratory Protection: Importance, Types and EU & NIOSH standards

By Shabbir Zahid 0 comments


Respiratory hazards are a significant concern in many workplaces, and employers must provide their workers with appropriate respiratory protection equipment. At SAMS SOLUTIONS, we believe that protecting workers' safety and health should be a top priority for all employers. We offer a range of respiratory protection products that meet the European Union (EU) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standards that ensures your employees are adequately protected. In the blog post, we will discuss why respiratory protection is critical and what types of protection are available.


Why is Respiratory Protection Important?

Respiratory hazards are present in many workplaces, including airborne dust, fumes, and gases, and can cause health issues, from minor irritations to long-term respiratory illnesses. The most common types of respiratory hazards in the workplace include:

  • Dust and particulates
  • Fumes from welding and metalwork
  • Chemical vapors and gases
  • Biological agents such as bacteria

Exposure to these hazards can lead to respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even cancer. Providing adequate respiratory protection equipment that meets the applicable standards is critical in preventing these health issues and protecting workers' safety and health.


What Types of Respiratory Protection Are Available?

SAMS SOLUTIONS offers a range of respiratory protection products that meet the applicable EU and NIOSH standards to suit different workplaces and industries. These include:

  • Disposable Respirators: Disposable respirators are suitable for a short duration, for environments with low dust levels and particulates. They are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and disposed of with ease.
  • Half-Face Respirators: Half-face respirators provide more complete respiratory protection than disposable respirators and are suitable for environments with higher respiratory hazards. They cover the nose and mouth and equipped with replaceable filters that change depending on the type of hazard.
  • Full-Face Respirators: Full-face respirators provide the most comprehensive respiratory protection and are suitable for environments with the highest respiratory hazards. They cover the nose and mouth and equipped with replaceable filters that change depending on the type of hazard.
  • Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPRs): PAPRs use a battery-powered blower to filter and supply air to the user. They are suitable for environments where respiratory hazards are high and where workers need to be able to move freely.

Choosing the appropriate respiratory protection equipment for your workplace depends on conducting a hazard assessment to determine the types of hazards your workers are exposed to and selecting the respiratory protection equipment that meets the applicable standards.


EU and NIOSH Standards for Respiratory Protection

The EU standard for respiratory protection is EN 149:2001+A1:2009, which outlines the requirements for filtering half masks that protect against particles. Respiratory protection equipment that meets this standard provides a minimum level of respiratory protection and tested to ensure it meets specific performance requirements.

NIOSH is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States, which is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. The NIOSH has established a certification program for respiratory protection equipment, and all respirators in the US market must be NIOSH-certified. NIOSH provides standards for different types of respirators, including N95, N99, N100, P95, P99, P100, R95, R99, and R100.


EN 149 Standard

EN 149 is a European standard for respiratory protective devices, filtering facepiece respirators (FFP). It sets out the technical requirements for the respirators designed to protect the wearer from inhaling harmful airborne particles.

The standard establishes several classes of respirators based on their filtration efficiency and maximum total inward leakage. These classes are known as FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3. FFP1 respirators provide the least protection by filtering at least 80% of airborne particles, while FFP3 respirators provide the highest protection with at least 99% of airborne particles.

EN 149 also specifies requirements for the quality and performance of the materials used in the respirator, as well as the design and construction of the device. The standard requires that FFP respirators be tested for fit and seal to ensure protection against airborne particles.

In addition, EN 149 includes requirements for labeling and packaging FFP respirators and instructions for use and maintenance.

It's worth noting that EN 149 is just one of several international standards that apply to respiratory protective devices. Other standards include the American NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and the Chinese GB (Guo Biao) standards.


N95 Respirators

N95 respirators are a type of respiratory protective device designed to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne particles. They are used in healthcare settings, construction, mining, and other industries where workers may exposed to hazardous airborne particles such as dust, smoke, or infectious agents.

The term "N95" refers to the respirator's ability to filter at least 95% of airborne particles, including those as small as 0.3 microns in size. N95 respirators are to create a tight seal around the nose and mouth of the wearer, filtering out particles that may inhaled.

N95 respirators are tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) are part of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. To be certified as an N95 respirator, the device must meet the technical requirements, including filtration efficiency, inhalation resistance, and exhalation resistance.

It's important to note that N95 respirators may not be suitable for all kinds of airborne hazards and to use correctly to be effective. It includes proper fit testing and training.


SAMS Solutions: a distributor for the Makrite® brand of disposable respirators

We meet both EN and NIOSH standards. This means that the respirators meet the requirements of both the European and American standards for respiratory protective devices.

Makrite® is a leading manufacturer of disposable respirators, offering a wide range of products designed to protect against airborne particles and liquid droplets. Their respirators are known for their high-quality construction, comfortable fit, and reliable performance.

In order to meet both EN and NIOSH standards, Makrite® respirators undergo rigorous testing and must meet strict technical requirements for filtration efficiency, breathing resistance, and inward leakage. Makrite® offers a range of disposable respirators in different classes, including FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3, as well as N95 and N99 respirators.



Respiratory protection is essential for protecting workers' safety and health in the workplace. Employers must provide appropriate respiratory protection equipment that meets the applicable standards to ensure that workers are adequate.