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Old 08-24-2012, 05:02 PM #1
Winger CT
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Looking for opinions on the use industrial grade powered respirators as PB masks

First off, I searched around here and couldn't find any earlier discussion of this, so if I missed it, I'd appreciate direction to it so I don't waste anyone's time.

A recent conversation in the Masks forum discussed the idea of using military or commercial full-face respirators as PB masks, mainly because they provide a very cool MilSIm look as seen in popular video games, and might also offer better visibility. No real consensus, although folks who have actually HAD to wear those things pointed out how miserable they are for long periods.

The issue of the relevant ANSI standard for eyewear came up, and is a key point. If a piece of equipment meets or exceeds the same ANSI rating as a PB masks and provides at least equivalent face and head protection, would it be allowed at professional facilites?

Nobody seems to know what Field owners think, so I figured I'd ask.

I suspect it might be a judgement call, and I can understand if Field Operators are skittish about letting anyone be seen playing without recognized PB gear. Bad precedents do need to be avoided.

My own case is a bit unusual, so I may be too much of an outlier to warrant much discussion here. I had a chemical inhalation injury last year, and haven't been recovering as well as I hoped. It has slowed me down considerably, but I'm still hoping to get back out on the field with my scenario team some day.

Lately I was wondering about using a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) In my case, I would need the super clean HEPA filtered air pushed at me to limit airway irritation and breathing effort, but using this approach also eliminates fogging and provides great visibility- safety benefits in themselves.

These types of devices also meet or exceed the same ANSI eye protection specs as PB masks, and with added ear covers, I think it might work nicely. I've seen some great deals on ebay, but most of these rigs are well north of $1200 new, so you guys aren't going to lose any mask sales over this. But since I currently need one of these to cut my freaking lawn anyway, (and it matches our uniforms), I just snagged this item for a terrific price:



So: If I showed up at your place someday and wanted to play paintball in this rig, what would you say? What documentation would help you feel comfortable about it? Manufacturers ANSI info? A Doctor's note? A personalized hold-harmless waiver? An extra $50?

How about having a team mate gog me at point blank range? I'd have no shortage of volunteers for that job...

Thanks for any thoughts you guys have time to share.

Best-

Winger
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Last edited by Winger CT : 08-24-2012 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:17 PM #2
TargetIndy
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All of the paintball field insurance policies that I've seen require eye protection to be compliant with the ASTM standards for paintball goggles.

Looking at the pictures you've shown, those masks lack the ear protection required in the ASTM standard.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:40 PM #3
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ANSI is the wrong standard, it is ASTM standards. It is not possible to simply state that a product meets ASTM standards unless it has been tested to the standards. Insurance will require ASTM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:39 AM #4
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I would not allow you on my field. Insurance states paintball specific goggles only.
If i read the super fine print i am sure it would mention ASTM f1776-12 standard for paintball goggles.
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:51 AM #5
Delmarva Paintball
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I think you mentioned "added ear protection" is that part of the goggle system or would it be a rig job?

If you were to come to my field with these (and acceptable ear pieces) I would do everything I could to find a way to let you play. In the past I have let a family play with their sons modified goggles. They had to work a helmet into the system for his condition. The goggles no longer met ASTM standards but common sense said they were fine. I know I put myself at risk doing that but I trusted the family. If you presented yourself and your case well I would probably do the same.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:04 PM #6
Misha"mole"yelich
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Our insurance states that the mask must be a paintball specific mask that meats all ASTM standards, as well as being ASTM certified. All paintball goggle systems are ASTM certified. Any modification to the original mask voids that certification i.e. new strap, soft ears, and the foam. I wouldn't allow you to use it even if it took a bullet and still remained intact.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:44 PM #7
Winger CT
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Wow, thank you guys for the high speed education. I didn't even know what I didn't know. I haven't bought a copy of the relevant ASTM standard yet, but I'm pretty sure the 3M helmet could be made functionally equivalent to an ASTM approved PB mask, (mainly by adding ear protection), but apparently it still wouldn't matter in terms of your insurance policies unless 3M or someone paid an ASTM lab to test and approve it for that purpose. Something tells me that ain't happening...

Delmarva, thanks for your open-mindedness, and your compassion helping that kid. I know you guys have some discretion over ops, but I'd never want to put you folks in a tricky spot. It's a tough enough business already without folks like me tossing curve balls at you.

My backup plan was to try converting an approved PB mask to a sort-of PAPR system by feeding the HEPA air into the lower mask, and adding a elastic-tyvek neck seal. I usually wear E-Vents, so I probably wouldn't need to close the exisiting front vent holes since I should have more than enough flow rate.

But Misha said "Any modification to the original mask voids that (ASTM) certification i.e. new strap, soft ears, and the foam." Just to be sure I understand you, are you saying than anyone who changes their own mask like that technically makes it a non-ASTM approved mask? I guess I can see how each mask is approved in a very specific configuration, and any after-market mod technically effects that. This seems like a big deal, but nobody enforces that unless the mask is obviously unsafe, right?

If I were able to modify my E-Vents mask in a way that did not weaken it or impair it's protective qualities, might that be permissable?

Thanks again for all the advice.
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