Respirators are worn by millions of U.S. workers. They are classified as either air filtering or air supplying. Examples of air filtering respirators include: N95 (disposable), half-face, full-face, and powered air-purifying (PAPR). These types of respirators are used to remove particles and/or gases and vapors from breathable air. PAPRs are unique in that loose-fitting ones do not require fit-testing before use. All other respirators require fit-testing to ensure that a proper seal exists between the respirator and face. Supplied air respirators include SCBA and airline respirators. These also require annual fit-testing to wear safely.
A surgical mask is not a respirator. It does not form a seal against the face, and therefore does not offer protection from inhaled particles/vapors/gases. A surgical mask is used to prevent infectious diseases that are transmitted through respiratory droplets.