Respiratory Protection

The respiratory protection program is governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) under 29 CFR 1910.134. Many people believe buying and using a respirator is no more complicated than any other personal protective equipment (PPE), like a pair of gloves. However, there are many federal requirements that go along with wearing a respirator such as medical evaluations, fit testing, and training. Even the decision of which type of respirator to buy, or which type of cartridge you need can be a complicated one. Call us before purchasing a respirator or beginning any operation where you feel respiratory protection might be necessary.

UAF Respiratory Protection Policy - This document covers UAF policy as well as training and medical exam requirements.

Respiratory Protection

Respirators can significantly reduce the level of exposure of a particular substance when used correctly. However, respirators should not be the first option for reducing exposure. It is always best to eliminate a hazard first if possible, by administrative techniques, i.e., shorter work interval times, or by engineering techniques such as utilizing a fume hood to reduce exposure.

In order to better assess the need for a respirator, please call the UAF Industrial Hygienist at 474-6671, to coordinate environmental and/or personal sampling evaluations. The results from the samples will indicate the level of exposure. Once the exposure concentration is known, it will help in assessing the degree of protection needed.

Before you wear a respirator…

Although respirators reduce exposure, they can cause a physiological burden on employees. There are several mandatory steps that must be taken before employees are permitted to use respirators when required in the work place. These include:

  • Medical Evaluation
  • Annual Fit Tests
  • Enrollment in the UAF Respiratory Protection Program
  • Training on the selection, use, care, limitations, maintenance, storage, and other aspects of wearing a respirator.

All these items can be easily arranged and completed, but the need must first be communicated to EHSRM. Please call our office at 474-6771 to initiate the process.

If you choose to wear a respirator …

If you choose to wear a respirator when it is not required under the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.134, there are guidelines that must be provided to you as an employee.  These guidelines can be found under Appendix D of the standard but please call EHSRM for further instructions on the use of a respirator.

Frequently Asked Questions: Respirators

Where can I find a manufacturer?

How do I know if I need a respirator?

When is respirator fit testing required?

Can a respirator be used by more than one person? How often should it be cleaned and disinfected?

Can I wear glasses while wearing my respirator?

Can I wear contact lenses with my respirator?

I would like to wear a filtering facepiece device (dust mask.) Is there anything I should know?

Is it okay to wear a beard with my respirator?

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