What is Breathing Apparatus and Who would use it?

For workers in mining, oil and gas, manufacturing and the construction industry completing your job and keeping yourself safe is critical. To keep yourself and others safe, control measures are implemented and are monitored. One control measure becoming more and more widely used is breathing apparatus. This article aims to clarify breathing apparatus in more detail.

 

BAtunnel

 

So what exactly is breathing apparatus?

 

Breathing apparatus (sometimes known as BA or SCBA) is essentially equipment that provides breathable air in situations or atmospheres that are immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). They come in 2 forms- open circuit and closed circuit, with the open circuit being used more often. SCBA stands for self contained breathing apparatus and means the user can enter a IDLH atmosphere without being dependent on a remote or outside supply of breathable air.

Breathing Apparatus can be purchased or hired on short term arrangements.

 

 

 

Who would wear breathing apparatus and in what sort of situations would I wear BA?

 

There are thousands of different scenarios that will permit the use of BA. We have outlined 3 below that we come across most often:

 

Scenario 1: Workers in Oil and Gas work on a deck in which a potential contaminant or toxic atmosphere may exist from time to time. Gas detectors are installed to alert workers of these contaminants and workers are to don BA and exit the deck to a muster point. The BA is not used as working equipment, it is used in the event of an emergency.

 

Scenario 2: Workers are working inside a confined space and as part of their rescue plan should a worker become unconscious, the standby rescue team will don BA and enter the confined space to conduct the rescue and retrieve the collapsed worker.

 

Scenario 3: Firefighters fighting a blaze would wear BA as the atmospheres they are entering are highly toxic.

 

 

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of wearing BA?

 

Advantages to wearing BA include the light weight of BA and the flexibility and non restrictive movement that it gives workers. Disadvantages include the fact that there is a limited supply of air and it will eventually run out.

 

 

Shakas

 

Where would I get information for wearing and maintaining my breathing apparatus?

 

There are several sources of information for wearing and maintaining BA. These include:

  • Manufacturers Specifications, this could include user manual and specs for the BA you are using (Scott, Draeger, MSA)
  • In house company training
  • Nationally recognized training¬†

Keeping your skills up with BA is critical and you always need to be able to quickly don and doff your BA, and keep it in excellent working order.

 

 

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