Precautions For Optimizing The Supply Of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)5

- Sep 12, 2020-

Cleaning and disinfection of PAPR components

The use of PAPR requires a robust maintenance program to repair or replace damaged components during use, cleaning and disinfection, and battery management procedures.


Need trained professionals to support the PAPR maintenance plan.


Manufacturers recommend cleaning and disinfection procedures for PAPR components, with the exception of HE filters/elements, which usually recommend discarding and replacing them. The filter elements can be reused until they are blocked to reduce airflow or become visibly dirty or damaged. In a non-dusty environment (such as a healthcare environment), blockage will not be considered a factor. When servicing the rest of the unit, the outside of the filter element can be surface cleaned and decontaminated. Viruses and bacteria that cause acute respiratory infections can survive on the respirator components for an indefinite period of hours to weeks. Therefore, the contaminated respirator must be properly treated, cleaned and disinfected to reduce the possibility of the equipment becoming a poisonous gas and promoting the spread of diseases. 7 According to OSHA, if the respirator manufacturer recommends or approves its use, the employer can use other commercially available cleaners with equivalent disinfection quality.


Routine use requires cleaning and disinfection using procedures in the OSHA respiratory protection standards or procedures recommended by the respirator manufacturer, provided they are at least as effective as OSHA. 8 If other procedures are used to clean and disinfect the PAPR and its components, they must be recommended or approved by the manufacturer.


Generally, cleaning and disinfection includes disassembling the PAPR, cleaning and disinfecting the components, thoroughly flushing the components, and reassembling the PAPR when the components are dry. Be sure to follow all the steps listed in the manufacturer's instructions. It is recommended to clean after each use, but the PAPR must be cleaned frequently as necessary to prevent it from becoming unhygienic.


As with reusable elastic respirators, manufacturers generally advise against cleaning or disinfecting PAPR HE filters and filter elements. Unlike reusable elastic respirators, PAPR only uses HE filters. The appearance of these filters and their connection or installation on the blower assembly may vary. Battery charging and/or replacement also require regular maintenance. The maintenance program of PAPR requires provision of spare components, including support and maintenance of the HE filter/cartridge used by PAPR.