Respirator Use & Selection

OSHA Requirements for Respiratory Protection Standard 29 CFR 1910.134

Selection of Respirators

  • Must select a respirator certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which must be used in compliance with the conditions of its certification.
  • Must identify and evaluate the respiratory hazards in the workplace, including a reasonable estimate of employee exposures and identification of the contaminant’s chemical state and physical form.

Medical Evaluation

  • Must provide a medical evaluation to determine employee’s ability to use a respirator, before fit testing and use.
  • Must identify a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform medical evaluations using a medical questionnaire or an initial medical examination that obtains the same information as the medical questionnaire (information required is contained in mandatory Appendix C).
  • Must obtain a written recommendation regarding the employee’s ability to use the respirator from the PLHCP.

Fit Testing

  • All employees using a negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece respirator must pass an appropriate qualitative fit test (QLFT) or quantitative fit test (QNFT).
  • Fit testing is required prior to initial use, whenever a different respirator facepiece is used, and at least annually thereafter. An additional fit test is required whenever the employee reports, or the employer or PLHCP makes visual observations of, changes in the employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit (e.g., facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or an obvious change in body weight).

Use of Respirators

  • Tight-fitting respirators shall not be worn by employees who have facial hair or any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal or valve function.
  • Personal protective equipment shall be worn in such a manner that does not interfere with the seal of the facepiece to the face of the user.
  • Employees shall perform a user seal check each time they put on a tight-fitting respirator using the procedures in mandatory Appendix B-1 or equally effective manufacturer’s procedures.

Maintenance and Care of Respirators

  • Must clean and disinfect respirators using the procedures in Appendix B-2, or equally effective manufacturer’s procedures at the following intervals:
  • As often as necessary to maintain a sanitary condition for exclusive use respirators
  • Before being worn by different individuals when issued to more than one employee
  • After each use for emergency use respirators and those used in fit testing and training.

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