New York employees may be interested to learn that approximately 5 million U.S. workers are required to wear respirators to protect themselves against respiratory problems in the workplace. Respirators can be crucial in low-oxygen environments or areas where there are dangerous mists, gases and vapors in the air.

Respiratory protection manufacturers have made many improvements so that workers can move and complete their work more effortlessly. For example, manufacturers have made improvements to the back plate design for larger devices, which increases the stability of the apparatus and reduces snag hazards. Devices are also becoming more sophisticated as technology continues to improve.

Even though improvements have been made to respiratory protection devices, they can still be misused. In fact, one of the most common ways to do so is to mix and match components from different manufacturers. To keep employees safe, all of the respirator components should be from the same manufacturer. Another common problem is that some employees do not wear their respiratory protection devices at all. Manufacturers have made improvements to the devices to correct this by making the devices more comfortable to wear, easier to put on and easier to use.

Inhaling certain vapors or particles while at work can have a detrimental effect on employees’ health. Depending on where they are working, they could develop forms of cancer or other respiratory problems that could lower their quality of life. Workers’ compensation benefits are available for people who contract occupational diseases just as they are to those who are injured in workplace accidents. However, some employers may try to deny a claim on the grounds that the worker contracted the disease elsewhere, and thus having an attorney’s assistance from the outset of the process could be advisable.