Breathing Apparatus is a vital addition to your safety equipment when operating in potentially hazardous environments where toxic gases may be present. For use in applications such as firefighting or confined space work, a reliable BA set works as life-saving personal protection equipment.
There are three main types of breathing apparatus, which are designed for use in different applications:
Situations where workers may be required to use a breathing apparatus set include firefighting, rescue operations, mining and chemical plant work. The devices all feature a face mask that will protect the wearer from the dangers of oxygen deficiency, toxic gases, dust and smoke, ensuring worker safety in a variety of applications. The apparatus can be used in unknown territory also, providing peace of mind for workers entering a previously unexplored space.
Emergency Escape Breathing Apparatus is designed to save the life of a worker when a hazardous area becomes life-threatening. It is built to provide a steady supply of breathing air for a limited time, enabling the wearer to exit the environment safely. As these devices offer just a limited supply of air, they are best suited for environments where there isn’t any immediate danger but where the threat of toxic gas or oxygen deficiency remains.
This short duration breathing apparatus sets use a constant flow of oxygen that is fed into a hood or a face mask, usually for between 10 and 30 minutes. The airflow will usually be activated as soon as the user takes the device out of its holder, and will not be affected by the user’s personal oxygen consumption. However, these devices can often be large and bulky which may affect the user when in a confined space environment.
SCBA (Self-Contained BA) / Working Breathing
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus is used to protect workers when operating in a hazardous environment where toxic gases or oxygen deficiency will be present throughout. A common choice for Fire Services, the SCBA allows the user to breathe safely throughout the duration of the operation. SCBA sets are either open-circuit or closed-circuit. Closed-circuit SCBA sets are designed for when a long duration of breathing air is required. They recirculate the breathing air by purifying it, removing carbon dioxide and adding fresh oxygen. An open-circuit SCBA uses compressed air cylinders to provide a shorter duration of oxygen.
A SCBA set is formed of 3 main components – a compressed air cylinder, a back-plate to hold the cylinder with a pressure regulator and a face mask. These pieces work together to provide an all-encompassing breathing device that can ensure worker safety in a hazardous environment for a set duration of time.
This short duration breathing apparatus sets use a constant flow of oxygen that is fed into a hood or a face-mask, usually for between 10 and 30 minutes. The air flow will usually be activated as soon as the user takes the device out of its holder, and will not be affected by the user’s personal oxygen consumption. However, these devices can often be large and bulky which may affect the user when in a confined space environment.
Airline BA / Long Duration BA
Airline (or Long Duration) Breathing Apparatus is designed for use in applications where a long duration of safe breathing air is required. These BA sets will reduce any fatigue on the user as they do not require carrying and are easily transported alongside the worker. An airline BA set uses either a high-pressure cylinder source or a medium pressure compressor which will feed a hose of up to 100 metres which is usually attached to a full face mask, allowing the user to move almost freely.
Workers in confined spaces are more suited to an Airline BA set due to their compact size that won’t impede upon any work. However, Airline BA sets must be backed up with a secondary air supply in case the first fails.
It is important that all workers are fully trained in the correct way to don and use their BA equipment in case of an emergency. Take a look at our Training page to find a suitable BA training course for your workers. Also head to our Breathing Apparatus category, where you can find our full range of respiratory protection devices.
If you need more information or you have any enquiries, please contact us on 0845 3300 447 or email our team at email@example.com.
Posted by Laura Dronfield