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Happy N95 Day!

Categories: Observances, Personal Protective Equipment

Photo courtesy of MSA

What? You didn’t know it was N95 day? Don’t worry! Exchanging gifts is not a required practice. N95 Day is a time to recognize the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and familiarize yourself with the resources out there to help you make educated decisions when selecting and wearing a respirator. There are many types of respirators and they all have their own function; it can be almost mind-boggling. So today (9/5, get it?) we focus our attention on the N95 filtering facepiece respirator because so many workers across a wide range of industries depend on the N95 for protection when working in environments with hazardous airborne particles. So nurses, construction workers, emergency responders, painters, gardeners and everyone else required to join the N95 club, raise your respirator in the air in celebration because today we unite under the banner of respiratory protection for all!

OK, that got a little dramatic. But respiratory protection is important. It’s always best practice to eliminate hazards through engineering, or by removing the hazard altogether by substituting non-toxic alternatives; however, when respirators are necessary it’s a good idea for users to know more about them.  So take some time today to explore the resources provided by NIOSH to improve your understanding of N95 respirators.

  • What do they do?
  • When should you wear one?
  • How do you know your chosen respirator is approved?

These are all questions that can be answered on the NIOSH Trusted-Source page at knowits.niosh.gov. While you’re there, be sure to check out our list of approved filtering facepiece respirators. Dust off that box of N95s sitting on your shelf and specifically look for the approval number (also known as the TC Number), which will be located either on the box, the instructions, the respirator itself, or any combination of the three. (HINT: The number is going to start with TC – 84A -) Match that number with the make, model, and corresponding approval number on the list of approved respirators to be sure you are being properly protected by a NIOSH-approved respirator. If you can’t find your N95 on the list, you should look into what you are wearing because you could have accidentally purchased a counterfeit respirator. Just because the box says N95 on it, doesn’t necessarily mean that the mask you are wearing is NIOSH-approved.

We’ve heard all the excuses before…

But, you wear a surgical mask regardless of the situation because it is pretty much the same thing, isn’t it?

False! You can read the technical reasons of the “why” they are different pieces of protective equipment on our blog post N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks

But, reading stuff about respirators puts you to sleep?

We have that base covered too. Grab a cup of coffee and put your feet on your desk as you enjoy this YouTube video covering the basics of donning, doffing, user seal checks, and fit testing courtesy of our friends over at OSHA.

But, NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory web site is too hard to navigate!

OK, we admit it. There is just so much information we want to share with users about respirators, along with other personal protective equipment, our web site was bulging at the seams. With a little bit of elbow grease we were able to organize, polish, and pretty-up the face of all that information. Please, check out our new look!

While you’re celebrating N95 day in your own way, keep an eye on NIOSH social media. Expect tweets today every 95 minutes between 9 and 5. Know someone who wears an N95 respirator? Please, retweet us to pass the word along so we can all be confident that our respiratory protection is keeping us safe.

Jaclyn Krah, MA

Ms. Krah is a Health Communication Specialist in the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. September 5, 2012 at 9:41 am ET  -   Mark

    Kudos to Ms. Krah and NIOSH for an amusing and effective way to talk about respirator issues! The subject is serious but we can talk about it in more interesting ways. Now I just have to find an N95 day card.

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  2. September 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm ET  -   J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

    Great approach! Who says respirator training is boring? Go N95!!!

    Link to this comment

  3. September 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm ET  -   Falck Alford Productions

    Great article Jaclyn! It’s a fun introduction to a very serious topic. We decided to dedicate our daily safety news post to N95 day, so more people can learn the importance of respiratory protection safety. [http://www.falckproductions.com/news/celebrate-n95-day-with-proper-respiratory-protection-safety-training]

    Link to this comment

  4. September 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm ET  -   Field ID Inspection Software

    Great post! For sure, why should respirator protection be boring? Celebrating the N95 Day is a great way to raise awareness about such a serious cause.

    Link to this comment

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