GUIDELINES FOR RESPIRATOR WEAR
Respiratory Protection Program
The Environmental Health & Safety Center is committed to maintaining a workplace free of injury and illness, and making every effort to protect the health of staff, faculty and students from harmful airborne contaminants.
In accordance with federal laws, protection from inhaling harmful substances should be accomplished through engineering controls such as ventilation or substitution with a less hazardous chemical. When this is not feasible, or if the exposures are brief and intermittent, a respirator may be recommended.
The Respiratory Protection Program is comprised of three procedures: an assessment of workplace chemical exposure, medical approval, and respirator fit-testing and training. A workplace exposure assessment is needed to identify harmful airborne contaminants, their extent and magnitude, and to offer recommendations on how to control them. Results of the assessment are used in determining the correct respirator and cartridges to be used. Before allowing an employee to wear a respirator, the employee's health status is to be reviewed by a physician. All employees (except those needing to use SCBA for emergency response, and those required to wear a N-95 respirator) needing to use respirators will be seen by Student Health Services' Occupational Medical Program. For all Respirator Approval Exams, (except for SCBA use for emergency response, and those required to wear a N-95 respirator) the following forms are sent to Student Health in a sealed envelope:
Once Student Health receives these forms they will contact the employee to set up an exam, Respirator medical approval is required every three years for current respirator users. Please refer to the following chart for specific requirements.
Employees requesting an annual SCBA medical for emergency response need only complete an exam request form and send to Student Health. Student Health will schedule the exam.
Employees required to wear a N-95 respirator will need to complete only a Confidential Medical Questionnaire.
New respirator wearers should contact EHSC to schedule a fit-test and training session. Current respirator wearers including those using N-95 respirators, are required to receive training and fit-testing on an annual basis. Refer to Respirator Training for a schedule of classes. The training program ensures that the new user will be thoroughly familiar with the need, use, limitations, inspection, fit checks and maintenance of the equipment.
Respirator Inspection & Maintenance
Fit-testing and fit-checks are important to ensure that there is a good seal between the face and respirator face piece. For respirators which require a gas tight seal, beard growth is not permitted. These procedures also verify that respirator parts are functioning properly. A fit-test is conducted when a respirator is first issued. Positive and negative fit-checks are conducted by the employee when a respirator is first issued, and then each time the respirator is used.
Employees using N-95 respirators for protection against hazardous aerosols will need to attend annual training and fit-testing. A confidential medical questionnaire is also required for mandatory N-95 use. Current N-95 users should follow instructions on questionnaire regarding re-submitting this form. Employees wearing N-95 respirators for comfort reasons only and not for protection against hazardous aerosols are not required to attend a training session nor complete a confidential medical questionnaire. However, users are required to submit a Filtering Face Piece Approval form