While the COVID-19 pandemic persits, healthcare workers and first responders still fighting on the frontlines have found themselves in need of new, innovative, products to prevent unnecessary risk to them and their co-workers. As particulates and airborne pathogens are common dangers for frontline workers, high-quality respirators are needed and sought after in the healthcare industry and beyond.
To be held in high-esteem respirators are often measured by OSHA on a few metrics to ensure safety of the user such as air purification quality and atmospheric cleansing. However, powered-air-systems, effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) often vary minutely and it can be difficult to sort through the best available options. In keeping with offering high-quality respirators for the modern healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers—3M has come out with the Versaflo TR-600 Series Powered Air Purifying Respirators. (PAPR) While providing users with increased protection and air purification, this series has a few models that find themselves most apt for use against the problems facing our world today:
3M™ Versaflo™ Easy Clean PAPR Kit TR-600-ECK, 1 EA/Case
The first on the list, the ECK, is an all-in-one system that is easy to use and, also, effective for proper maintenance and cleaning. While the use of this system extends beyond pharmaceuticals, branching to the food industry, painting, and lead battery manufacturing/recycling—it has become essential PPE during the pandemic. Offering a disposable hood, the ECK provides a wide field of view through a clear covering and is attached to an adjustable-length breathing tube to make it accessible for any user. Additionally, with the option of interchangeable filters from the cartridge model TR-6710N, the user is able to protect against vapor, particulate, and gas—giving autonomy in a variety of environments. With a battery that ranges from 5.5 to 12 hours, mostly dependent on airflow rates that can easily be adjusted, there’s control to how long you work with less downtime overall.
3M™ Versaflo™ Heavy Industry PAPR Kit TR-600-HIK, Case of 1 Each
The next system by 3M, the HIK, is a more heavy-duty model as the first thing to note is a lack of a disposable hood. While that can make effective cleaning slightly more difficult, it can still work to assuage some of the drawbacks of a constantly adjusted and readjusted new hood. With a glass cover for eye and face protection the HIK visor is perfect for multiple environments as mentioned above, as well as heavy industry, infrastructure, maintenance, and even remediation efforts. With a hard-hat in addition to the face-shield, this respirator is made for long-lasting use and protection—even using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for up to 13 hours of coverage. Lastly, with multiple airflow rates and interchangeable TR-6500 filters, the HIK can be adaptive to most any environment and reused after cleaning.
3M™ Versaflo™ Healthcare PAPR Kit TR-600-HKL, 1 ea/Case
Specifically designed for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, the HKL is an amazing, and lightweight solution for the modern frontline worker. With a soft-cap headpiece able to accommodate eyewear as well as limited facial hair, this mask is perfect for pandemic use and also completely submersible for easy cleaning. To note, with a long-lasting battery of up to 10 hours and an easy recharge station to work and avoid too much downtime, there aren’t many general solution respirators better than the HKL. Additionally, the adjustable tube makes user comfort a breeze and the airflow indicator implemented for safety ensures the exterior environment is being safely purified.
3M™ Versaflo™ Healthcare PAPR Kit TR-600-HKS, 1 ea/Case
The last of the 600-Series on our list is the HKS, designed and tested for the modern healthcare and pharmaceutical worker. Much like the HKL it is lightweight—however, it is important to note that the protection offered to the eyes, head, face, and skin are somewhat limited by comparison. In that vein, it does offer multiple forms of protection, the included TR-6700 filter is designed specifically to protect against particulates—the most widely known form of transfer of our modern COVID-19 pandemic. All that being said, the HKS still features a long battery life, up to 10 hours, but is perhaps less effective overall than the HKL.
While any of these PPE systems are effective in defense against the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still important to assess individual business needs and how a hard-hat vs. a soft-cap mask could be better equipped for the particular industry. All that being said, the variety of options and implementations, not to mention battery life, and NIOSH approved hardware—these 3M products are a great, immediate solution for our frontline workers to an ongoing problem!