Things to Consider When Using and Cleaning PAPRs

Things to Consider When Using and Cleaning PAPRs

Powered Air Purifying Respirators are used when higher respiratory protection is required, to defend industrial workers and emergency responders from particulates such as silica dust, bacteria, mold spores, and heavy dust.

The Honeywell North Primair® 700 Series is a NIOSH-approved PAPR, using a battery-powered blower to pull ambient air through a filter to remove contaminants and provide clean air.

This article describes usage and cleaning instructions for the Honeywell North Primair® 700 Series.

To start off, PAPRs shouldn’t be used in these conditions:

·         In atmospheres containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen.

·         In IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) atmospheres.

·         Do not exceed maximum use concentrations established by regulatory standards.

·         If the airflow is less than four cfm (115 lpm) for tight-fitting facepieces or six cfm (170 lpm) for hoods and/or helmets.

·         If the respirator contains electrical parts that may cause ignition in flammable or explosive atmospheres.



The occupational use of a respirator should follow a written respiratory protection program. This should meet all the local government regulations. In the United States, employers must comply with OSHA 29CFR1910.134 which includes medical evaluation, training, and fit testing.

This training should include an opportunity for workers to handle the respirator, learn how to inspect it, have it properly fitted, wear it in normal air for a long familiarity period, and finally, to wear it in a test atmosphere. In Canada, the respiratory program must include the CSA Standard Z94.4, which also requires fit testing. 

Components check

Each respirator comes with NIOSH-approved labels that list the approved components. Used in conjunction with the applicant’s user instructions, they provide essential information for the safe and appropriate use of the respirator assembly.

Generally, do not use a respirator unless all the required components are attached.

The Honeywell North Primair® 700 Series contains:

1) a loose-fitting headcover or facepiece

2) a breathing tube

 3) filters, as specified on the NIOSH approval label.

Other important considerations:

·         Use only the filters and components listed in the manufacturer user manual and on the NIOSH approval label. Substitute components will void NIOSH approval and may allow leakage.

·         Never use the PAPR with a missing part.

·         Do not use the respirator unless the battery is fully charged. Failure to use a fully charged battery will result in the risk of the PAPR ceasing operation during use, exposing the worker to serious injury, illness or death.

The Honeywell North Primair® 700 Series should be inspected, as follows:

1.       Inspect the harness, comfort pad and buckles for any wear or frayed material.

2.       Inspect the breathing tube for any wear including cracking or crazing.

3.       Inspect the headgear for wear or damage, particularly at the connection to the breathing tube.

4.       Inspect the facepiece by checking the straps, cartridge connectors and other components for wear. Make sure all valves are present and in good condition.

5.       Inspect the headpiece for wear or damage. Check for tears or holes. Check that the hood’s snaps are attached to the headgear, and FR cover’s snaps attached to the hood. Be sure that the headgear is adjusted properly to fit your head.

Note: do not alter or modify the device in any way. Any alterations or modifications, including painting, affixing labels or using unapproved replacement parts can reduce protection and exposes you to the risk of illness, injury or death.

For more information on the Honeywell North Primair® 700 Series, visit this page.

Fit Test

Respirators with a tight-fitting facepiece should be assigned after the worker receives a qualitative or quantitative respirator fit test. The results of the test should indicate that the facepiece of the respirator fits properly.

Instructions for carrying out qualitative and quantitative respirator fit tests are provided in OSHA 29 CFR §1910.134 (US), CSA Z94 (Canada), and respirator manuals published by government agencies such as NIOSH, ERDA, and NRC.

Fit tests should be conducted at least annually or more frequently if there are factors such as weight change or dental surgery which may affect the fit of the respirator.

Respirators with loose-fitting headcovers are not required to be fit tested prior to use, nor are seal checks performed prior to entry into a contaminated atmosphere per OSHA and CSA standards.

Seal check

Before entering an area containing hazardous atmospheres, and periodically while wearing the respirator in the contaminated area, users must check the effectiveness of the face-to-facepiece seal by carrying out a positive and/or negative pressure seal check.

·         With the facepiece donned and the blower unit powered on, test for positive pressure inside the facepiece by gently breaking the facepiece seal at your cheek.

·         If you do not have air, do not put on the respirator.

·         Confirm that the blower is turned on and the battery is fully charged.

The condition of the battery impacts the performance of the PAPR, the CDC says.

The PA700 has three alarms to warn the user about low battery or low air-flow conditions. The long-lasting lithium-ion battery slides into the unit and locks – keeping it secure and protected on five sides. This greatly reduces the risk that the battery will accidentally disengage during use. The control keypad was designed to allow for access to the flow-control button during use but keeps the power button out of reach to prevent unintended shut-down.

·         Finally, check your breathing tube connections. If the above has been verified as working properly and you still do not receive air, take the respirator out of service and tag it for repair.

Bear in mind – the flow check, facepiece fit check, donning and doffing must be done in a safe, uncontaminated area.


Accidents may happen. Workers should leave the work area immediately if the facepiece seal is disturbed for any reason, such as:

a)            Slippage due to sweating or excessive head movement.

b)            The facepiece becomes dislodged as a result of being knocked.

c)            You need to adjust spectacles, touch your face, or any other reason that would cause the facepiece seal to be disturbed.

Also, remove respirator if:

•                     Breathing becomes difficult;

•                     You become dizzy or disoriented;

•                     You smell, taste or otherwise sense contaminants;

•                     Your respirator is damaged;

•                     Airflow into the headcover decreases significantly or stops.

Before reentering the work area, remember to restore the facepiece-to-face seal and perform a fit check in a non-hazardous environment.


Removal advice

Before removing your PAPR facepiece, you must go to an area with uncontaminated air. Do not don, doff or store the respirator in an area where contaminants can contact or accumulate inside any component of the respirator. Contaminants inside of the facepiece may be inhaled or absorbed upon re-use of the respirator.

Never remove the respirator for any reason while you are in the work area.


All reusable equipment should be carefully decontaminated, and the application of disinfectants should be preceded by cleaning to prevent the inactivation of disinfectants by organic matter.

•                    Leave the blower attached to the mask and the filter securely attached to the blower. Inhaled air will be drawn through the filter during decontamination.   

•                     Adjust the shower caps on the filters so that the opening is pointing away from the water spray.

•                     The battery cable must remain attached to the blower and battery pack during decontamination to prevent water from entering the battery pack case or blower.

•                     Proceed through the shower, following approved decontamination methods.


Here is the basic cleaning process for the Honeywell North Primair® 700 Series. Bear in mind, this is not a substitute for more thorough cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing processes.

1.       Clean the outside of the breathing tube by using a mild cleaning solution (i.e. dishwashing liquid soap) or solution P/N 80995 and a lint-free cloth or sponge.

2.       Rinse the breathing tube in clean water. Take care to avoid getting any particulates or liquids inside the breathing tube. If liquid should get inside the breathing tube, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and dried before using it with the PAPR.

3.       Clean the harness and comfort pad by using a mild cleaning solution (i.e. dishwashing liquid soap) or solution P/N 80995. A soft bristle brush may be used to loosen dirt or paint.

4.       Clean the blower assembly by using a mild cleaning solution (i.e. dishwashing liquid soap) or solution P/N 80995 and a lint-free cloth or sponge.

5.       Take care not to get cleaning solution or water near the air-inlet or battery connector terminals.

6.       Clean the battery by using a mild cleaning solution and a lint-free cloth or sponge. Take extra care not to get cleaning solutions or water on the battery connector contacts or the gasket.

7.       Dry all components and the exterior of the breathing tube with a clean, lint-free cloth and/or leave to air dry in a clean environment free of dust and particulates. Make sure all components are completely dry before putting the respirator back into service.

Filter Replacement

Filter service life depends on the particulate concentration. As filters load, it’s harder for air to pass through, putting a strain on the battery and blower and eventually restrict the flow of air to the facepiece. Filters must be changed when indicated by the PAPR flow meter.

The Primair PA700 Series PAPR comes with a High-Efficiency Air-Purifying (HEPA) filter (equivalent to a P100 filter) for respiratory protection against particulates. The cartridge securely installs into the blower with a simple ¼-turn twist and lock system.

To replace the HEPA filter:

1.            Exit to a non-contaminated environment.

2.            Remove the facepiece and turn off the PAPR.

3.            Remove the filter from the blower by turning counterclockwise. Dispose of the used filter in accordance with Federal, state, and local regulations.

4.            Install a new filter.

5.            Perform a pre-operational flow check.


·         The facepiece or headgear assembly may be left attached to the breathing tube, or removed for storage.

·         Fully extend the adjustable straps on the harness.

·         Store the blower, battery, and facepiece or head cover assembly in a clean environment away from contaminants.

·         If the cloth cover of your headcover assembly will be reused, store it so it will not contaminate other respirator components including the interior of the headgear.

·         Store the blower and harness assemblies in a controlled environment in which the temperature is -4˚F (-20˚C) to +95˚F (+35˚C) and relative humidity is less than 90%.

·         It is preferable to store the battery on the charger to maintain optimal service life.

·         Do not tuck any extra material of a used hood, including the bib, into the headgear assembly. This will contaminate the inside breathing area and can result in serious injury, illness or death.

·         Do not expose the respirator to excessive heat above 140°F (60°C), moisture above 90% R.H. or contaminating substances during storage. Excessive heat may distort components, exposing the user to the risk of injury, illness or death.


A preventive maintenance program is essential to the long-term, reliable operation of any respirator. Maintenance and thorough cleaning should be performed routinely and as needed. And the need will be determined on how often the PAPR is used, the level of contaminant it is exposed to and other factors that may shorten the service life of the unit such as harsh environments.