Respiratory Protection - Respirator Safety Program



In the Respiratory Protection program, hazard assessment and selection of proper respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is conducted in the same manner as for other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). In the control of those occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials). When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators shall be used. References: OSHA Standards Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)


All Employees shall follow the requirements of the Respiratory Protection Program.
• implement the requirements of this program
• provide a selection of respirators as required
• enforce all provisions of this program
• appoint a specific designated individual to conduct the respiratory protection program
Program Administrator
• review sanitation/storage procedures
• determine effectiveness for each type & model respirator based on Assigned Protection Factors
• ensure respirators are properly, stored, inspected and maintained
• monitor compliance for this program
• provide training for affected Employees
• review compliance and ensure monthly inspection of all respirators
• provide respirator fit testing
Designated Occupational Health care Provider
• conduct medical aspects of program
Program Administrator
Each Facility will designate a program administrator who is qualified by appropriate training or experience that is commensurate with the complexity of the program to administer or oversee the respiratory protection program and conduct the required evaluations of program effectiveness.
Voluntary Use of Respirators is Prohibited
OSHA requires that voluntary use of respirators, when not required by the company, must be controlled as strictly as under required circumstances. To prevent violations of the Respiratory Protection Standard Employees are not allowed voluntary use of their own or company supplied respirators of any type. Exception: Employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering (non-sealing) face pieces (dust masks).

Program Evaluation

Evaluations of the workplace are necessary to ensure that the written respiratory protection program is being properly implemented, this includes consulting with employees to ensure that they are using the respirators properly. Evaluations shall be conducted as necessary to ensure that the provisions of the current written program are being effectively implemented and that it continues to be effective Program evaluation will include discussions with employees required to use respirators to assess the employees' views on program effectiveness and to identify any problems. Any problems that are identified during this assessment shall be corrected. Factors to be assessed include, but are not limited to:
• Respirator fit (including the ability to use the respirator without interfering with effective workplace performance);
• Appropriate respirator selection for the hazards to which the employee is exposed;
• Proper respirator use under the workplace conditions the employee encounters; and
• Proper respirator maintenance.
Record Keeping
The Company will retain written information regarding medical evaluations, fit testing, and the respirator program. This information will facilitate employee involvement in the respirator program, assist the Company in auditing the adequacy of the program, and provide a record for compliance determinations by OSHA.
Training and Information
Effective training for employees who are required to use respirators is essential. The training must be comprehensive, understandable, and recur annually, and more often if necessary. Training will be provided prior to requiring the employee to use a respirator in the workplace. The training shall ensure that each employee can demonstrate knowledge of at least the following:
• Why the respirator is necessary and how improper fit, usage, or maintenance can compromise the protective effect of the respirator
• Limitations and capabilities of the respirator
• How to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations, including situations in which the respirator malfunctions
• How to inspect, put on and remove, use, and check the seals of the respirator
• What the procedures are for maintenance and storage of the respirator
• How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of respirators
• The general requirements of this program
Retraining shall be conducted annually and when:
• changes in the workplace or the type of respirator render previous training obsolete
• inadequacies in the employee's knowledge or use of the respirator indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill
• other situation arises in which retraining appears necessary to ensure safe respirator use
Training will be conducted by instructors certified by _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Training is divided into the following sections:
Classroom Instruction
1. Overview of the Company Respiratory Protection Program & OSHA Standard
2. Respiratory Protection Safety Procedures
3. Respirator Selection
4. Respirator Operation and Use
5. Why the respirator is necessary
6. How improper fit, usage, or maintenance can compromise the protective effect.
7. Limitations and capabilities of the respirator.
8. How to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations, including respirator malfunctions
9. How to inspect, put on and remove, use, and check the seals of the respirator.
10. What the procedures are for maintenance and storage of the respirator.
11. How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of respirators.
12. Change out schedule and procedure for air purifying respirators.
Fit Testing
Hands-on respirator Training
1. Respirator Inspection
2. Respirator cleaning and sanitizing
3. Record Keeping
4. Respirator Storage
5. Respirator Fit Check
6. Emergencies
Basic Respiratory Protection Safety Procedures
1. Only authorized and trained Employees may use Respirators. Those Employees may use only the Respirator that they have been trained on and properly fitted to use.
2. Only Physically Qualified Employees may be trained and authorized to use Respirators. A pre-authorization and annual certification by a qualified physician will be required and maintained. Any changes in an Employees health or physical characteristics will be reported to the Occupational Health Department and will be evaluated by a qualified physician.
3. Only the proper prescribed respirator or self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) may be used for the job or work environment. Air cleansing respirators may be worn in work environments when oxygen levels are between 19.5 percent to 23.5 percent and when the appropriate air cleansing canister, as determined by the Manufacturer and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOSH) or the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), for the known hazardous substance is used. SCBAs will be worn in oxygen deficient and oxygen rich environments (below 19.5 percent or above 23.5 percent oxygen).
4. Employees working in environments where a sudden release of a hazardous substance is likely will wear an appropriate respirator for that hazardous substance (example: Employees working in an ammonia compressor room will have an ammonia APR respirator on their person.).
5. Only SCBAs will be used in oxygen deficient environments, environments with an unknown hazardous substance or unknown quantity of a known hazardous substance or any environment that is determined "Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health" (IDLH).
6. Employees with respirators loaned on "permanent check out" will be responsible for the sanitation, proper storage and security. Respirators damaged by normal wear will be repaired or replaced by the Company when returned.
7. The last Employee using a respirator and/or SCBA that are available for general use will be responsible for proper storage and sanitation. Monthly and after each use, all respirators will be inspected with documentation to assure its availability for use.
8. All respirators will be located in a clean, convenient and sanitary location.
9. In the event that Employees must enter a confined space, work in environments with hazardous substances that would be dangerous to life or health should an RPE fail (a SCBA is required in this environment), and/or conduct a hazardous material (HAZMAT) entry, a "buddy system" detail will be used with a Safety Watchman with constant voice, visual or signal line communication. Employees will follow the established Emergency Response Program and/or Confined Space Entry Program when applicable.
10. Management will establish and maintain surveillance of jobs and work place conditions and degree of Employee exposure or stress to maintain the proper procedures and to provide the necessary RPE.
11. Management will establish and maintain safe operation procedures for the safe use of RPE with strict enforcement and disciplinary action for failure to follow all general and specific safety rules. Standard Operation Procedures for General RPE use will be maintained as an attachment to the Respiratory Protection Program and Standard Operation Procedures for RPE use under emergency response situations will be maintained as an attachment to the Emergency Response Program.
Respirator User Policies
Adherence to the following guidelines will help ensure the proper and safe use of respiratory equipment:
• Wear only the respirator you have been instructed to use. For example, do not wear a self-containing breathing apparatus if you have been assigned and fitted for a half-mask respirator.
• Wear the correct respirator for the particular hazard. For example, some situations, such as chemical spills or other emergencies, may require a higher level of protection than your respirator can handle. Also, the proper cartridge must be matched to the hazard ( a cartridge designed for dusts and mists will not provide protection for chemical vapors)
• Check the respirator for a good fit before each use. Positive and negative fit checks should be conducted.
• Check the respirator for deterioration before and after use. Do not use a defective respirator.
• Recognize indications that cartridges and canisters are at their end of service. If in doubt, change the cartridges or canisters before using the respirator.
• Practice moving and working while wearing the respirator so that you can get used to it.
• Clean the respirator after each use, thoroughly dry it and place the cleaned respirator in a sealable plastic bag.
• Store respirators carefully in a protected location away from excessive heat, light, and chemicals.
Selection of Respirators
The Company has evaluated the respiratory hazard(s) in each workplace, identified relevant workplace and user factors and Assigned Protection Factors and has based respirator selection on these factors. Also included are estimates of employee exposures to respiratory hazard(s) and an identification of the contaminant's chemical state and physical form. This selection has included appropriate protective respirators for use in IDLH atmospheres, and has limited the selection and use of air-purifying respirators. All selected respirators are NIOSH-certified .
Filter Classifications - These classifications are marked on the filter or filter package
N-Series: Not Oil Resistant
• Approved for non-oil particulate contaminants
• Examples: dust, fumes, mists not containing oil
R-Series: Oil Resistant
• Approved for all particulate contaminants, including those containing oil
• Examples: dusts, mists, fumes
• Time restriction of 8 hours when oils are present
P-Series: Oil Proof
• Approved for all particulate contaminants including those containing oil
• Examples: dust, fumes, mists
• See Manufacturer's time use restrictions on packaging
Respirators for Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) atmospheres.
• The following respirators will be used in IDLH atmospheres:
• A full face piece pressure demand SCBA certified by NIOSH for a minimum service life of thirty minutes, or
• A combination full face piece pressure demand supplied-air respirator (SAR) with auxiliary self-contained air supply.
• Respirators provided only for escape from IDLH atmospheres shall be NIOSH-certified for escape from the atmosphere in which they will be used.
Respirators for atmospheres that are not IDLH.
The respirators selected shall be adequate to protect the health of the employee and ensure compliance with all other OSHA statutory and regulatory requirements, under routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations. The respirator selected shall be appropriate for the chemical state and physical form of the contaminant.
Identification of Filters & Cartridges
All filters and cartridges shall be labeled and color coded with the NIOSH approval label and that the label is not removed and remains legible. A change out schedule for filters and canisters has been developed to ensure these elements of the respirators remain effective.
Respirator Filter & Canister Replacement
An important part of the Respiratory Protection Program includes identifying the useful life of canisters and filters used on air-purifying respirators. Each filter and canister shall be equipped with an end-of-service-life indicator (ESLI) certified by NIOSH for the contaminant; or
If there is no ESLI appropriate for conditions a change schedule for canisters and cartridges that is based on objective information or data that will ensure that canisters and cartridges are changed before the end of their service life.
Filter & Cartridge Change Schedule
Stock of spare filers and cartridges shall be maintained to allow immediate change when required or desired by the employee
Cartridges shall be changed based on the most limiting factor below:
• Prior to expiration date
• Manufacturer's recommendations for use and environment
• After each use
• When requested by employee
• When contaminate odor is detected
• When restriction to air flow has occurred as evidenced by increase effort by user to breathe normally
• Cartridges shall remain in their original sealed packages until needed for immediate use
Filters shall be changed based on the most limiting factor below
• Prior to expiration date
• Manufactures recommendations for the specific use and environment
• When requested by employee
• When contaminate odor is detected
• When restriction to air flow has occurred as evidenced by increase effort by user to breathe normally
• When discoloring of the filter media is evident
• Filters shall remain in their original sealed package until needed for immediate use.
Respiratory Protection Schedule by Job and Working Condition
The Company maintains a Respiratory Protection Schedule by Job and Working Condition. This schedule is provided to each authorized and trained Employee. The Schedule provides the following information:
1. Job/Working Conditions
2. Work Location
3. Hazards Present
4. Type of Respirator or SCBA Required
5. Type of Filter/Canister Required
6. Respirator Assigned Protection Factor
7. Location of Respirator or SCBA
8. Filter/Cartridge change out schedule
The schedule will be reviewed and updated at least annually and whenever any changes are made in the work environments, machinery, equipment, or processes or if respirator different respirator models are introduced or existing models are removed.
Permanent respirator schedule assignments are:
Each person who engages in welding will have their own company provided dust-mist-fume filter APR. This respirator will be worn during all welding operations.
Assigned Protection Factors
No respirator can provide 100% effectiveness. OSHA has implemented Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) for various types of respirators. The purpose of APFs is to ensure use of respirators does not cause over-exposure to specific contaminants. Maximum permissible exposure levels (PEL) are generally based on specific concentrations over an 8 hour daily period without using a respirator. As an example if a respirator has a 90% effectiveness, then a respirator wearer would reach the maximum permissible exposure level in 10 hours IF the atmospheric conditions were 10 times the PEL.
Our company selects respirators by comparing the exposure level and the maximum concentration of the contaminant in which a particular type of respirator can be used. Known as the Maximum Use Concentration or MUC, this is generally determined by multiplying the respirator's APF by the contaminant's exposure limit. If the level of contaminant is expected to exceed the MUC, the company will select a respirator with a higher APF.
Respirator Fit Testing
Before an employee is required to use any respirator with a negative or positive pressure tight-fitting face piece, the employee must be fit tested with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used. The Company shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting face piece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator face piece (size, style, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter
The Company has establish a record of the qualitative and quantitative fit tests administered to employees including:
• The name or identification of the employee tested
• Type of fit test performed
• Specific make, model, style, and size of respirator tested
• Date of test
• The pass/fail results for Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT) or the fit factor and strip chart recording or other recording of the test results for Quantitative Fit Test (QNFT)
Additional fit tests will be conducted whenever the employee reports, or the Company, Physician, supervisor, or program administrator makes visual observations of, changes in the employee's physical condition that could affect respirator fit. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or an obvious change in body weight.
If after passing a QLFT or QNFT, the employee notifies the Company, program administrator, supervisor, or Physician that the fit of the respirator is unacceptable, the employee shall be given a reasonable opportunity to select a different respirator face piece and to be retested.
Types of Fit Tests
The fit test shall be administered using an OSHA-accepted QLFT or QNFT protocol. The OSHA-accepted QLFT and QNFT protocols and procedures are contained in Appendix A of OSHA Standard 1910.134.
• QLFT may only be used to fit test negative pressure air-purifying respirators that must achieve a fit factor of 100 or less.
• If the fit factor, as determined through an OSHA-accepted QNFT protocol, is equal to or greater than 100 for tight-fitting half face pieces, or equal to or greater than 500 for tight-fitting full face pieces, the QNFT has been passed with that respirator.
• Fit testing of tight-fitting atmosphere-supplying respirators and tight-fitting powered air-purifying respirators shall be accomplished by performing quantitative or qualitative fit testing in the negative pressure mode, regardless of the mode of operation (negative or positive pressure) that is used for respiratory protection.
• Qualitative fit testing of these respirators shall be accomplished by temporarily converting the respirator user's actual face piece into a negative pressure respirator with appropriate filters, or by using an identical negative pressure air-purifying respirator face piece with the same sealing surfaces as a surrogate for the atmosphere-supplying or powered air-purifying respirator face piece.
• Quantitative fit testing of these respirators shall be accomplished by modifying the face piece to allow sampling inside the face piece in the breathing zone of the user, midway between the nose and mouth. This requirement shall be accomplished by installing a permanent sampling probe onto a surrogate face piece, or by using a sampling adapter designed to temporarily provide a means of sampling air from inside the face piece.
• Any modifications to the respirator face piece for fit testing shall be completely removed, and the face piece restored to NIOSH approved configuration, before that face piece can be used in the workplace.
Fit test records shall be retained for respirator users until the next fit test is administered. Written materials required to be retained shall be made available upon request to affected employees.
Physical and Medical Qualifications
Records of medical evaluations must be retained and made available in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1020.
Medical evaluation required
Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees that varies with the type of respirator worn, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is used, and the medical status of the employee. The company provides a medical evaluation to determine the employee's ability to use a respirator, before the employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace.
Medical evaluation procedures
The employee will be provided a medical questionnaire by the designated Occupational Health Care Provider
Follow-up medical examination
The company shall ensure that a follow-up medical examination is provided for an employee who gives a positive response to any question among questions in Part B of the questionnaire or whose initial medical examination demonstrates the need for a follow-up medical examination. The follow-up medical examination shall include any medical tests, consultations, or diagnostic procedures that the Physician deems necessary to make a final determination.
Administration of the medical questionnaire and examinations
The medical questionnaire and examinations shall be administered confidentially during the employee's normal working hours or at a time and place convenient to the employee. The medical questionnaire shall be administered in a manner that ensures that the employee understands its content. The company shall provide the employee with an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire and examination results with the Physician.
Supplemental information for the Physician
The following information must be provided to the Physician before the Physician makes a recommendation concerning an employee's ability to use a respirator
• The type and weight of the respirator to be used by the employee
• The duration and frequency of respirator use (including use for rescue and escape)
• The expected physical work effort
• Additional protective clothing and equipment to be worn
• Temperature and humidity extremes that may be encountered
• Any supplemental information provided previously to the Physician regarding an employee need not be provided for a subsequent medical evaluation if the information and the Physician remain the same
The Company has provided the Physician with a copy of the written respiratory protection program and a copy of the OSHA Standard 1910.134
Medical determination
In determining the employee's ability to use a respirator, the Company shall
• Obtain a written recommendation regarding the employee's ability to use the respirator from the Physician. The recommendation shall provide only the following information
• Any limitations on respirator use related to the medical condition of the employee, or relating to the workplace conditions in which the respirator will be used, including whether or not the employee is medically able to use the respirator
• The need, if any, for follow-up medical evaluations
• A statement that the Physician has provided the employee with a copy of the Physician's written recommendation
• If the respirator is a negative pressure respirator and the Physician finds a medical condition that may place the employee's health at increased risk if the respirator is used, the Company shall provide a APR if the Physician's medical evaluation finds that the employee can use such a respirator; if a subsequent medical evaluation finds that the employee is medically able to use a negative pressure respirator, then the Company is no longer required to provide a APR
Additional Medical Evaluations
At a minimum, the Company shall provide additional medical evaluations that comply with the requirements of this section if:
• An employee reports medical signs or symptoms that are related to ability to use a respirator
• A Physician, supervisor, or the respirator program administrator informs the Company that an employee needs to be reevaluated
• Information from the respiratory protection program, including observations made during fit testing and program evaluation, indicates a need for employee reevaluation
• A change occurs in workplace conditions (e.g., physical work effort, protective clothing, temperature) that may result in a substantial increase in the physiological burden placed on an employee.
Respirator Operation and Use
Respirators will only be used following the respiratory protection safety procedures established in this program. The Operations and Use Manuals for each type of respirator will be maintained by the Program Administrator and be available to all qualified users.
Surveillance by the direct supervisor shall be maintained of work area conditions and degree of employee exposure or stress. When there is a change in work area conditions or degree of employee exposure or stress that may affect respirator effectiveness, the Company shall reevaluate the continued effectiveness of the respirator.
For continued protection of respirator users, the following general use rules apply:
• Users shall not remove respirators while in a hazardous environment
• Respirators are to be stored in sealed containers out of harmful atmospheres
• Store respirators away from heat and moisture
• Store respirators such that the sealing area does not become distorted or warped
• Store respirator such that the face piece is protected
Face piece seal protection
The Company does not permit respirators with tight-fitting face pieces to be worn by employees who have:
• Facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the face piece and the face or that interferes with valve function; or
• Any condition that interferes with the face-to-face piece seal or valve function.
If an employee wears corrective glasses or goggles or other personal protective equipment, the Company shall ensure that such equipment is worn in a manner that does not interfere with the seal of the face piece to the face of the user.
Continuing Effectiveness of Respirators
The Company shall ensure the following that employees leave the respirator use area:
• To wash their faces and respirator face pieces as necessary to prevent eye or skin irritation associated with respirator use
• If they detect vapor or gas breakthrough, changes in breathing resistance, or leakage of the face piece
• To replace the respirator or the filter, cartridge, or canister elements.
If the employee detects vapor or gas breakthrough, changes in breathing resistance, or leakage of the face piece, the Company will replace or repair the respirator before allowing the employee to return to the work area.
Procedures for IDLH atmospheres
For all IDLH atmospheres, the Company shall ensure that:
• One employee or, when needed, more than one employee is located outside the IDLH atmosphere
• Visual, voice, or signal line communication is maintained between the employee(s) in the IDLH atmosphere and the employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmosphere
• The employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmosphere are trained and equipped to provide effective emergency rescue
• The Company or designee is notified before the employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmosphere enter the IDLH atmosphere to provide emergency rescue
• The Company or designee authorized to do so by the Company, once notified, provides necessary assistance appropriate to the situation
Employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmospheres will be equipped with:
• Pressure demand or other positive pressure SCBAs, or a pressure demand or other positive pressure supplied-air respirator with auxiliary SCBA; and either
• Appropriate retrieval equipment for removing the employee(s) who enter(s) these hazardous atmospheres where

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