From the Archive
A decade ago we designed the General Service Respirator for the men and women of the British Armed Forces, to protect them against chemical, biological and nuclear threats.
In the wake of the recent poisonings in the UK we’ve been seeing images of its use throughout the media. We’re proud that our design has stood the test of time and is still protecting our service personnel today.
Back in in 2003, Scott Safety tasked us with the brief of developing a new respirator that incorporated a ground-breaking new filtration system, however we quickly realised that keeping out these dangerous substances was only half the story.
Through ethnographic studies we identified multiple design considerations in addition to respiratory protection. How wide is the user’s field of vision while wearing the mask? How well can they hear their commanding officer? Is the respirator weighing them down, or making it hard to move? Can they keep their fluid levels high enough to avoid dehydration? How will the GSR integrate with the huge range of existing equipment?
Our design objective for the new General Service Respirator was to make the GSR as close to invisible as possible – giving Army, Air Force and Naval personnel the widest possible field of view, even weight distribution, the most comfortable oronasal seal, the fastest, safest and simplest filter changes. Superior speech transmission, high fluid-intake capability and increased wearer comfort were designed in from the start.
Ensuring wearability and comfort were essential to those who would ultimately be using the mask. Often users would have to wear this protective Respiratory Protection Equipment for extended periods of time in difficult, life threatening environments.
Utilising detailed anthropometrics helped us to create a totally new testing protocol to ensure that the GSR worked as well in the difficult environment of the field as it did within the laboratory. The General Service Respirator continues to deliver the best protection available for our troops, providing a design that’s more comfortable, easier to use, and preferred by service personnel.
Creating an unparalleled suite of technology that included twin canisters, a single lens, a multiple edge primary seal, low breathing resistance, an improved drinking system, an outstanding interface with Individual Protection Equipment (IPE), and a speech transmission system provided troops with the highest levels of wearer comfort.
Research and Development