For any Pest Control Operator working with hazardous chemicals, safety should be a number one priority. You no doubt spend a huge amount of time pouring, mixing and applying chemicals while on the job – and wearing and maintaining the correct masks and respirators is essential for protecting yourself from serious damage.
Below, Agserv addresses some common mask questions and issues to help you stay safe and ensure your masks are protecting – not killing – your health!
1. Do I Need to Wear a Respirator When Spraying Pesticides Indoors?
2. How Long Will the Filter in My Mask Last?
· Gas/Vapour Filters: A good gas/vapour filter will generally last up to 3 months if used and stored correctly (see below). However, you need to keep in mind that the more you use your mask and expose it to chemicals/moisture, the quicker the filter will need to be replaced.
If you can smell or taste the chemical you are using while wearing the mask, it’s a good sign the filter needs to be changed.
· Particle Filters & Pre-Filters: Quality particle filters will last almost forever. Over time, it may become harder for you to breathe while wearing the mask, but the filters themselves will never stop working.
A good option is to choose a mechanical paper filter – this is very cost-effective and also has the longest working lifespan.
3. How Can I Ensure My Mask Has An Airtight Fit?
Simple – shave! A clean-shaven face ensures your mask can ‘suction’ itself properly to your skin, providing you with an airtight fit. You should check your mask is fitted correctly before you begin interacting with any pesticides.
This is important in making sure the mask is providing you with as much chemical protection as possible – and is considered an AU/NZ safety standard.
4. How Often Should I Clean My Mask?
· You should wipe down your mask/respirator/filter using a damp cloth each time you use it. This will wipe away chemical residue.
· Every few weeks, you will also need to clean your mask in warm soapy water. Make sure you also dry your mask properly afterwards.
· Alternatively,if manufacturing allows, you can clean your mask in the dishwasher. For example, the Sundstrom SR100 can be placed in an automatic dishwasher.
5. Where Should I Store My Mask?
All masks should be stored in a closable container when not in use. This will help keep the mask clean, and free of moisture and dust/dirt.
· Leaving your mask in open areas (like in the back of your truck) or near chemical containers is a sure way to reduce the life of your mask and increase your own health risks. Don’t do it!
· On top of that, it also means you’ll have to spend more money replacing your mask sooner. Be smart, keep your mask in a proper container!
6. What Else Can I Do To Protect My Health?
· Wear personal protective clothing at all times, including gloves, goggles and overalls (if you run a business, ensure PPE is fully accessible for your workers).
· If you are using highly toxic chemicals, consider switching to another pesticide that will be less hazardous to you, but still effective in eradicating pests.
· Make sure you understand the health and safety requirements as set out by WorkCover and adhere to these at all times.
You’ve only got one go at good health – look after it!
is committed to helping you protect yourself while on the job.
For more information about mask/filter maintenance contact us on 1800 554445 or view/search our equipment range here.