Background: Little is known about Malaysian workers' tolerance for respirators in the workplace. This study aimed to assess Malaysian workers' perceptions of respirator tolerability and its relationship to socio-demographics and compliance.

Method : This cross-sectional study was conducted between October and December 2021 among respirator users in the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors. Background information and respirator compliance were collected using a structured online questionnaire. A R-COMFI questionnaire was used to measure respirator tolerability.

Results: This study recruited 340 participants, but only 278 of them met the inclusion criteria. More than half reported that wearing respirators was uncomfortable, impacted focus, and hindered communication. Few had health concerns from respirators. Malay ethnicity (β = -2.604, 95% CI = -4.983, -0.225) and respirator training (β = -2.213, 95% CI = -4.339, -0.088) were found to be associated with better respirator tolerability.

Conclusion: This study showed that Malay ethnicity and respirator training predicted better respirator tolerance. Policy aimed at emphasizing the need of respirator training programs, particularly for non-Malay workers, should be thoroughly considered in order to improve worker tolerance of respirator wear and prevent hazardous health effects by inhalation.

Keywords: Respirator, Tolerability, Worker, R-COMFI, Malaysia


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