There is a lot of confusion about N95 paper dust masks. And, it is confusing. The reason is because NIOSH has rated this type of equipment as a respirator. Prior to this, it was called a “comfort mask”. This name sounded better than calling it, “a worthless false sense of protection”. It is now called a, “dust mask”, or a “filtering face-piece”.

Here is what is required by OSHA if you wear this type of respirator (N95, or similar):n95

  • Employees must read and sign Appendix D (of the OSHA respirator standard)
  • Employees must clean, inspect, and store their dust mask

That’s it.

UNLESS you are wearing this because:

  • Your employer requires it
  • You have overexposures
  • or, nobody “wouldn’t wear it”. (meaning: it’s an industry practice, and when when we do this XXX task, everyone wears this type of respirator– this is the same as your employer requiring it)

If  any of the above statements are true, then you have more to do. Here are links for more information:

Voluntary Use of respirators

Fit testing

Getting ready to wear a respirator

Professionally I do not recommend these type of respirators. Email me if you’d like to know why.