Breathe Easy By Ensuring Your N95 Respirator Offers Optimum Protection

Workplace exposure to harmful gases, vapors, sprays, airborne particles, and even insufficient oxygen can lead to a variety of health issues for workers. Without protection, respiratory illnesses can occur which can span from a dry, scratchy throat to lung diseases, cancer and even death. OSHA requires protection for workers exposed to harmful airborne substances and the N95 respirator is one of the most frequently used. The N95 effectively prevents contaminants in the air from making their way to the lungs. But to ensure proper protection, it is critical that the respirator is NIOSH tested and certified. Here are 5 ways to ensure you're using a proper respirator:

  1. Look for the NIOSH name or logo on the respirator;
  2. Check for the NIOSH filter classification (i.e. N95);
  3. Examine the respirator for the TC (Test and Certification) approval number;
  4. Also look for the Approval Holder's business name (typically the manufacturer), registered trademark, or an easily understood abbreviation;
  5. Finally, check for the model or part numbers as well as the manufacturing lot number.

Some N95 respirators have a valve which aids in reducing exhalation resistance, making it easier to breathe. The valve can also reduce moisture build-up and keep area of the face which is covered cooler and dryer. For more information on respirators, go to the CDC website at