Breathing protection

Breathing protection

Breathing protection: Clean breathing air during the application

To survive, we need oxygen, which we take in with every breath. Breathing air is a mixture of various gases in the atmosphere around us. Its essential components are nitrogen (78 %) and oxygen (21 %). Water vapour, various noble gases and carbon dioxide make up the last percent.

It is not uncommon that the air we breath in is contaminated with harmful substances. In bodyshops, for example, the air can be contaminated with exhaust fumes, fine dust, aerosols and also with solvent vapours or paint mist. These substances must therefore not be inhaled and the painter should work only with appropriate breathing protection. Using breathing protection equipment is not only highly recommended when painting, but also mandatory according to the respective (country-specific) occupational health and safety regulations. Due to the often unclear quality of the air, the use of ambient air-independent devices is preferable to the use of filtering devices. But even with ambient air-independent devices, it has to be considered that also the air supplied to the equipment must meet the specified quality standards.

Ambient air-independent breathing protection systems are usually supplied with breathing air from a central compressed air line circuit. However, the breathing air can get contaminated also in the compressed air systems. For example, the compressors can release oil vapours and oil aerosols into the compressed air, thus contaminating the compressed air system. In order to ensure the required air quality for the breathing protection equipment, the air has to be filtered properly.

For this purpose, the three-stage SATA compressed air filters are the best choice. If used as intended, they ensure the required air quality.

The applicable quality standards for supplied-air devices are defined in the European standard "DIN EN 12021:2014 Respiratory protective devices – Compressed Air for breathing apparatus" and also in the "ISO 8573-1:2010 Compressed air – Contaminants and purity classes".

In turn, in the United States the standard "CGA G-7.1-2018: Commodity Specification for Air – Grade D breathable air or higher" defines the requirements for the air quality. This specification was published by the "Compressed Gas Association (CGA)" and the "ANSI-Accredited Standards Developing Organization".

SATA filter series 484/584 - Functional characteristics
The standards DIN EN 12021:2014 and ISO 8573-1:2010 define the requirements for air quality with regard to oil, particles, O2, CO2, CO and water content. The SATA filter series 484 / 584 separate solid and liquid particles as well as gaseous organic components, like oil vapours, odours, etc. to the required extent. All other gaseous components (e.g. O2, CO, CO2 as well as the
pressure dew point) are not changed by the SATA filter 484 / 584.

The following requirements of ISO 8573-1:2010 are reliably met by the SATA filter
484/584 if used as intended:

ISO 8573-1:2010:

  • Evaporated lubricant: max. 0.1 mg/m³ (according to class 2 of
    ISO 8573-1:2010 [5.4])
  • Separation efficiency: 99.998% for particle size 0.01 μm (according
    to class 2 of ISO 8573-1:2010 [5.2])

DIN EN 12021:

  • Evaporated lubricant: max 0.1 mg/m³ (max. allowed value according
    to EN 12021: 0.5 mg/m³)
  • The air must not have any noticeable odour or taste.

The following components of the compressed air are not changed by the SATA filter 484/584:

  • Oxygen content in the range of 21 ± 2 % by volume
  • Carbon dioxide content (CO2) below 500 ml/m³
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) content below 15 ml/m³.

To be connected to breathing protection equipment, the air supplied to the SATA filter 484/584 must meet the following requirements according to ISO 8573-1:2010:

  • Particles: In class 4
  • Humidity: In class 4 (pressure dew point: +3°C, the air must be
    free from residual particles which interfere with paint wetting).
  • Oil content (liquid, aerosol): In class 3 (max. 1 mg/m³)

The amount of oxygen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the supplied air will not be changed by the SATA filter 484 / 584. Therefore, the required balance of these substances must be ensured by the compressed air system and regularly checked according to DIN EN 12021.

In general, the operator of a bodyshop must ensure that all devices and equipment being used there comply with the local applicable regulations. In Europe, the operator must carry out a workplace-related risk analysis in order to be able to specify the necessary requirements for the equipment in use and define measures for occupational health and safety.

Following applies also to the United States: the operator must plan, check and control the compressed air system and its inlet air accordingly.