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Respiratory protection for beard wearers
The tight fit of the mask is decisive for the protective effect of the breathing apparatus.


The accident prevention regulation of the DGUV rule 112-19 The accident prevention regulation of the DGUV rule 112-190 Use of respiratory protective equipment states in its section 3.1.5.3

"Ergonomics and individual adjustment", among other things, that the tight fit of the mask is decisive for the protective effect of the respirator. Rule 112-190 therefore stipulates that “people with beards or sideburns in the area of the sealing lines of full and half masks and filtering breathing connections are unsuitable for wearing these breathing connections. This also applies to people who, for example, cannot achieve an adequate mask seal due to their head shape or deep scars."  

The wearers of respiratory protective devices and respirators must not have any hair in the area of the sealing contours of the mask, so they must not wear a full beard, a 3-day beard or long sideburns. The reason for this restrictive stipulation is an investigation carried out with over 100 subjects. The following problems were found in wearers of beards:

  1. In the case of compressed air breathing apparatus with normal pressure, ambient air is also inhaled as soon as a negative pressure arises in the full face mask while breathing.
  2. With compressed air breathing apparatus with positive pressure, breathing air flows out of the full face mask along the sealing lip, which is often clearly audible.

The results obtained in this study with full face masks can be transferred to the wearing of particle filtering half masks. Beard or sideburn hair leads to significant leaks here too. Even the so-called 3-day beard is no exception. As this stubble is stiffer and has a larger diameter than a full beard, even larger leaks may occur.

When using respiratory masks, make sure that the seal between the mask and facial skin is as tight as possible. Hair growth in the area of contact between the respiratory protection and skin should be avoided as far as possible. It is advisable to try different models of respiratory protection masks, experience has shown that in most cases a compromise can be found between the length and shape of the beard and safety in the workplace.

Important: Other types of face jewellery, such as piercings, should also be viewed critically from the perspective of respiratory protection!  

Even if the quantities of inhaled respiratory toxins may be low, the limits of which may not be reached by the person wearing the respirator, many dangerous respiratory toxins with long-term half-lives accumulate in the body. These include, for example, benzenes and other hydrocarbons. They are particularly dangerous because of their constant poisonous effect.

DACH Respiratory protection information EN 149: 2001 + A1: 2009
According to EN149: 2001 + A1: 2009 it is indicated whether a particle-filtering half mask can only be reused for one shift or beyond.