Respiratory Protection Program

Campus employees must be certified to use a respirator.

The goal of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard is to require the use of appropriate and effective respiratory protection to prevent employee exposure to atmospheric contamination. Respiratory protection includes the use of respiratory protection devices, or "respirators", whenever administrative and/or engineering controls may not be completely effective or sufficient (see Hierarchy of Control).

While respirators allow employees to work safely in environments contaminated by hazardous or dangerous dust, fumes, mist, gases or vapors; the degree of safety afforded by respiratory protection depends on a number of factors, such as the:

  • Type of respirator
  • Nature of the work
  • Physical condition of the employee

Therefore, it is important that all steps of the respiratory protection program be followed.

Under the standard a written respiratory program is required. The program must include the following:

  • Training on determining under what circumstances a respirator needs to be used; selecting the correct respirator under the conditions expected; and properly using and maintaining a respirator
  • Medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators
  • Fit testing to ensure respirators are properly fitted

When all three components are completed, then the user is certified for respirator use. (Note: Those applying for respirator use certification for asbestos work need additional clearance. Contact the Office of EH&S for more information.)

Refresher training and re-fit testing must be done at least annually in order to maintain respirator use certification.