Industrial Relations
Safety Consultant
Raghuvaran Chakkaravarthy
Environmental, Health And Safety
Hr Head With Pmi
Agm Ehs And Project Management
Health And Safety
+1 Other


I have a same problem in all our Sub-Contractor site’s including ours (self performance). Let’s go the issue.

In construction always we facing different kind of issues last couple of months were are specially monitoring Respirator / Dust mask issues in our work areas they are using RESPIRATOR / DUST MASK for all purposes sorry to say specially our EHS guys (Including me) always forget to read instruction ‘’ How many of our guys reading instruction or asking manuals when your inspection something in work areas any one???’’.

In my workplace they are using some chemicals for fixing tiles, silicon sealant for finishing etc,..,, But all of the employees who assigned for the job using a same Respirator / Mask for all tasks when I go through the MSDS manufacturer clearly recommend what type of MASK we need to use including model’s just couple of weeks ago we had meeting with our supervisor regarding this issue how they can choose right PPE’s for job after the meeting I visited one site its shocked me they using the different mask it’s not meet manufacturer requirement again I called the supervisor he brawl with me.

1. For example: In one area it’s like a hall more than more than 20 employees working in different activities Tiles, finishing, Plumbing. They are using different types of chemicals its needs different types Respirator / masks for each activities but they are using the same Respirator / mask while cleaning the area but they suppose to use different mask.

I know strongly its leads to occupational disease in future even if my employee suffered after 5 years I am the soul responsibly for them even though they aren’t in my company. They are not understood lot of times we explained but it’s happened again and again.

We cannot monitor 1000+ employees one by one at all times it’s not possible too.

I discussed this issue with my colleagues most of them advised me you make a small issue like disaster guys please advise me If I am wrong in this case??????

Note: We are providing Mask for all activities in our workplace our employee’s failure to use.

Your suggestions are most welcome thanks in advance . . .

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File Type: jpg 1730 RESPIRATOR.JPG (2.83 MB, 46 views)
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Dear Raghu

I will suggest the following:

1. You can't always expect the job supervisor to refer the MSDS or Manufactures instruction before selecting suitable respiratory protection. For this you have to do a detailed study (HIRA) of all your activities and have to come up with a list. Which respiratory protection needs for which job and how long it should be used, etc. For this you many use the attached format.

2. Once the list is ready hand over to your supervisors. Advice/train them very clearly that what PPE is for particular job. You can get results from this.

3. Conduct training program for workers covering specific job and hazards and need of using right type of respiratory protection. The training level / learning level should be in such a manner that the worker should demand from their supervisors that I need right type of respiratory protection for this job. If not getting they can complain to the superiors.

These are my suggestions... Please let me know whether it will work for you or not...

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Dear Raghu,

I am sorry for the delay in reply as well as not so participative in forum as I was busy in EHS and OHSAS audit last week.

As regards to your problem I have some thing to comment. I would also like to share some of my experience with you. Hope you may take some clue which should be useful to you.

1. Use of PPE: There is a lot of resistance in use of PPE.

Personal life examples,

Helmets while two wheeler driving.

Most of the people use it as a threat of Police and fines being imposed. Very little percentage who voluntary use the helmet.

Talking on mobile while driving 2 and 4 wheelers.

Every body knows the hazardous of this unsafe act. How many of us follow.?

Fastening the seat belt while 4 wheelers driving.

again followed in the cities where it is made compulsory by RTO.

Professional Life examples:

In industry to promote workmen to use PPEs become a problem of Management.

If some near happened of falling objects, the managements immediately jump on conclusion of use of Helmets.

According to me the companies should do Hazard Identification of falling hazards, as well as problems encountered with use of helmet.

The following are few concerns of helmets.

In Indian subcontinent there are roughly two seasons one is hot and other is hotter. (Some exceptions when the temperature is less than 6 Deg C approx 6/7 days in a year). The rains happen from July to Sept however the temperature in most part of the country is hot.

If helmets are used there is a lot of sweating, and itching on head.

Till the time people are used there is a problem of Hearing, many people feel this as a hazard.

If helmets are not issued to every employee, if these are exchanged there is possibility of problems like dandruff, and dermatitis.

Instead if falling hazards are prevented at source, it is quite beneficial.

Most workshops have EOT Cranes (particularly engineering Industry), if crane platforms are protected with some anti fall arrangements, nothing will fall down.

In such case helmets can be avoided.

As it is we say PPE's are to be considered as last Defense, we have to rely on elimination, substitution, Engineering controls first. Modification of crane platform can be considered as Engineering control. Therefore I suggest to make detailed HIRA and adopt HAZCOM. If hazards are properly communicated the acceptability increases.

In my previous assignment we were using some VOC's, the major hazard there was impotency to the workmen after 5 years exposure.

After reading MSDS, I conducted the training of workmen communicated them the hazard, the situation was different then.

Workmen started using masks, asking of new masks after the defined frequency.

In many cases specific training helps.

These are my views, some one may differ with them, but I have got results with this approach.

Thanks & Regards,

Dear Raghu, Dipil,
While I was writing reply on this thread, which took some time, in between Mr. Dipil Replied, and he also commented on HIRA.
I am sure Hazard Identification and Communication will giive positive results.
Thanks Mr. Dipil for your reply.
Thanks & Regards,
Dear Sir
Thanks for sharing a detailed write up with us... Mainly what I feel very good is that you have a wast experience in different field... You sharing the the real life experiences with us... Nice to got a senior member like you in the forum...
Keep on sharing and thanks...

Dear Mr. Raghu, Mr. Dipil,

I forgot to mention about the quality of Mask.

This is competency issue.

For selecting a correct type of Mask, Read MSDS, contact good companies and select the proper mask.

Following incidence happened when I was working in Production.

We had subcontracted Painting activity.

The masks were issued to painting contractor's employee.

He regularly used the mask, but under the mask he used to cover his nose with handkerchief.

When we implemented OHSAS we did HIRA, and suitability of this mask was checked, then we revealed that the particular mask was not good for the painting application.

I studied the particle size of the fumes at Painting and procured suitable mask.

The same painter was given the new mask and feed back was taken. His feed back was in Hindi "sir abhi paint ka smell nahi aata, pahle wale mask me se paint ka smell aata tha isiliye mai rumal bandhata tha."

Selection of Proper PPE also changes the attitude of the workmen.

Thanks and Regards,

Dear Raghu
Look comfortability of the employee while he was using mask. If employee face any inconvenience then sure he will not use. So that you have to go through HIRA. If your selection is perfect then you have to go through training. In training don't tell only about how to use mask and why. Also tell or show what are the consequences if they failed to use mask. Fine on the employee should be last option.
Dear Dipil, First of all thanks for your quick response and sorry for delaying in reply i was obstructed in some of our sub-contract issues . . . I will reply you in couple of hours. . .
Dear Sudhir, Nice to see your professional example thanks for your participation in between your busy schedule. Again thanks i will revert back to you in couple of hours. . . Keep on touch. . .
His feed back was in Hindi "sir abhi paint ka smell nahi aata, pahle wale mask me se paint ka smell aata tha isiliye mai rumal bandhata tha."
I had facing such kind of issues in my earlier projects too. . .
Thanks for sharing. . .
Keep on touch. . .

Dear Vijay, Thanks for your participation on this thread and given a short and very useful information sure i will add this in upcoming programs. Keep on touch. . .
Dear Sudhir,Dipil & Vijay,

First o all thanks for your quick response and sorry for delaying in reply i was obstructed in some sub-contract issues . . .

We have had implemented what u suggested in our projects problem is whom were using in our project they are MULTI SKILLED WORKERS they will do everything like ALL ROUNDERS were are rotating the employees in different tasks in same time in this area they failed to use the right PPE 90% they will forget.

It’s a management issue also I had discussed the same with my management they replied me to prove with any previous incidents, Occupational health reports etc.,, Because NO one was not injured and not affected and not reported any issue on this case but I strongly believe it will going to happen if its continue in workplace but I FAILED to prove to management in this case.

Note: We had given enough trainings to employees it has been documented ( Management strongly believe us in this area we can change everything by training they ready to spend whatever we request in training area (Fund, facility etc.,,))

I sturdily believe training can’t be change everything

What I understood or learned in this issue MULTI SKILLED WORKERS is the problem . . . . Am I right??? Need to do some modification in this case if I need to take any step should be do the COST ANALYSIS in this area. . .

I hope it’s not only a safety issue management planning is failed in manpower distribution on this area its becoming/leading to SAFETY ISSUE this is the root cause of this problem am I right???

Now I am speaking a Engineer;
  • If we are going to conduct training to all its costs;
  • Infrastructure (we need to provide in site / some of the site we have infrastructure)
  • Trainer hours (If want to spend more hours they need to paid me extra)
  • MULTI SKILLED WORKERS (It will waste the time and delay in schedule)
  • Again Trainer (He needs to spend time to prepare presentation In different languages due to other country nationality’s) etc..,,,,

It’s better to hire skilled workers to particular job it will save money and time it’s very easy to monitor more over they well know about his nature of work they easily choose the right PPE.

This what I thought in this case I am awaiting for your reply on this case

One thing I always remembered in my career and working for it

‘’Achieve the company goal and fulfill the client / customer requirement’’ that is the main reason company hires us this is also my part of job.


Please someone guide me on cost analysis subject I am eager to learn. . .

Thanks in advance.
I am not aware of the international standards of HSE for such works as I have little exposure to overseas working environment. But in India, such works like tile fixing, silicon sealent sealing are considered as normal operation where only nose masks are used, not respirators. I have to check MSDS before commenting further on this.
Dear Raghu
As the labour engaged are from economically backward and illiterates, we can only explain them the consequences of not using proper nose masks / respirators. Even somewhere the painters doing spray painting will not use any mask. If you explain also they will take it lightly and not respond properly. In workers mind, they think that these are all the formalities to be adopted to satisfy the Safety personnel and not for their safety. That's the reason these type of lapses are taking place.
Dear Raghu,
Such training need not be a class room session.
This can be done 10 to 15 minutes in the shop itself.
Involve near by workmen, Supervisors even senior management members.
Explain hazards, you may engineering controls , explain them. Still communicate them the advantages of using PPE's.
You may convey [COLOR="Red"]Why Test Poison.
Recently we have conducted PPEs survey in our plant.So,here i am sharing PPEs selection survey report which is being carried out by M/s Joesph Leslie at our plant and based on that we reccomend our management to do the neccessary procurment action accordingly.Hope it will useful.

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i have worked in compliances arena for along time.
biggest problem is no company/ employer is willing to spend a penny on health & safety.. manufacturing jobs have been sourced to china/ india simply because companies can save money by going around social or environmental or health and safety norms.
once the employer is willing to dole out money, educate the employees and follow NIOSH norms.
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