Respiratory Protection

Written Program

For any employment or tasks that REQUIRE respiratory protection, either due to known/possible exposures, regulations, or internal policy, the department in which the affected employee works must have a written Respiratory Protection Program.

A template is available. The specific written program must reflect the conditions and realities of operations within the department that requires the respirator use. This program must be reviewed and (if necessary) updated on an annual basis. Employees must also be trained or instructed on the contents of the department-specific Respiratory Protection Program at least annually.

Voluntary Use of Disposable Filtering Facepiece (e.g. N-95) Respirators

If a department does not require the use of respirators due to the absence of known or probable respiratory hazards, but an employee wishes to wear a disposable dust-mist-fume respirator such as an N-95 filtering facepiece, this can be permitted at the discretion of the supervisor. The employee must read and sign a copy of Appendix D to the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard.

Voluntary use of filtering facepiece respirators does not require completion of a written Respiratory Protection Program, medical evaluation, or fit testing. However, if the use of filtering facepieces is mandatory, or if the voluntary use is for tight-fitting half-face or full-face respirators, then the full requirements of a written program, medical evaluation, fit testing, and training apply.

Fit Testing

It is essential that respiratory protective equipment be properly fitted to the employee when it is issued. All the care that went into the design and manufacture of a respirator to maximize protection will not protect the wearer if there is an improper match between facepiece and wearer or if the wearer follows improper wearing practices.
There are two considerations with respect to proper fit:

  1. Assuming that there are several brands of a particular type of facepiece available (you should provide several to choose from), which one fits best?
  2. How does the user know when the respirator fits properly?

The answers to the above questions can be determined by the use of a fit test. Quantitative fit tests are conducted by UK Health & Safety after an employee’s initial program enrollment (see below) and annually thereafter.

Even N-95 filtering facepiece respirators require annual fit testing, unless their usage is strictly voluntary. Loose-fitting hood-type Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) do not require fit testing, as they do not form a tight seal around the face/head/neck. PAPRs with tight-fitting elastomeric facepieces require annual fit testing.

Program Enrollment and Medical Evaluation

For all employees required to use respiratory protection, an initial fit-testing and training is required and must be repeated at least annually, provided that the employee continues to require respiratory protection for their employment. Training on the department’s specific written Respiratory Protection Program must also be performed at least annually. Complete the following steps for initial and anuual renewal.

  1. The department must have a written Respiratory Protection Program.
  2. Complete the online Respirator Use training program.
  3. Fill out the online fit testing medical clearence form:.
    1. Access MyUK and log in with your Link Blue ID and password.
    2. Click on the Employee Self-Service Tab and then the UK Accounts and Services link at the bottom.
    3. Click on the myUK Health Service link at the bottom of the menu.
    4. Click on Forms.
    5. Scroll to the Employee Health heading, then click on Non-Healthcare worker OSHA Fit Test Questionnaire.
    6. Answer all of the questions – paying special attention to the section instructions. When finished, hit Submit at the bottom of the form.
    7. Log off.
  4. A representaive from the Environmental Health & Safety Division will contact you to schedule a fit test.

Contact Information

Please contact Melissa Claar, administrator for Respiratory Protection Programs, if you have any questions or need assistance.


Useful Links

Respirators VS Surgical Masks
UK OHS Respiratory Protection Training


Chemical Cartridge Change Schedules

NIOSH

OSHA Respirator Info

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