What is independent respiratory protection?

What is independent respiratory protection?

16 May 2024

The principle of respiratory protection is based on creating a physical barrier between the user and the ambient air. In most cases, this is done using a hood or mask, with replaceable filters forming the separation between the environment and the inhaled air. This is a form of dependent respiratory protection, as the user is dependent on the immediate ambient air. In certain situations, however, such systems offer insufficient protection, and independent respiratory protection must be chosen.

Independent respiratory protection

With independent respiratory protection, clean air is supplied from outside via air hoses. The term ‘independent’ indicates that one is not dependent on the ambient air. No matter how severe the air pollution is, the user always breathes clean air, regardless of the concentration and nature of the harmful substances present. The clean air can be delivered to the user either through oxygen tanks or via a compressed air network.

Advantages of independent respiratory protection

This form of respiratory protection is characterized by a high level of protection. For certain critical applications – such as firefighting or rescue operations – independent respiratory protection devices are consistently used. In such situations, the user may not always know what kind of air pollution they will encounter or if there will be sufficient oxygen available. Only the best form of protection is then sufficient.

However, this high level of protection comes with more limited mobility. Oxygen tanks on the back or a connection to a compressed air hose limit the user’s mobility. It goes without saying that independent respiratory protection is more inconvenient and complex than the more common dependent respiratory protection. Therefore, this type of respiratory protection is generally only preferred in situations that require the highest level of protection.

Industrial Applications

In certain sectors, industrial activities generate large amounts of air pollution, such as chemical processes or powder coating. A supplied-air hood can provide a good solution for respiratory protection in these environments. The VanderGrinten hood from Arbin has been a favorite for many in heavily polluted environments for decades. An additional advantage compared to independent respiratory protection is that with supplied-air hoods, there is no need for periodic filter changes.

Onafhankelijke adembescherming bij poedercoaten
Independent respiratory protection in heavily polluted spray booth.

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