Respirator Trusted-Source Information
Frequently asked Questions and Answers about respirators, the Science behind Respirator Function and Performance, and a listing of all NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared surgical N95 respirators.
The safety officer, industrial hygienist or designee of your facility, is responsible to run the respiratory protection program and evaluate its effectiveness. He/she is trained to identify, assess, and control types of potential inhalation hazards in your work area. He/she must be familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) and the use and application of the respirators at the particular workplace. Also, he/she is responsible to ensure you are provided with an appropriate and suitable respirator that is provided at no cost by the employer to the employee, training, and medical evaluations to protect you from inhaling harmful contaminants (contaminants could include biologic agents such as bacteria and viruses).
If you have questions like whether you should be wearing respiratory protection, what kind of respiratory protection you should be wearing, how to maintain this equipment or how to put on or take off this equipment, you should contact your administrator.
A respiratory protection program is a written program required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). The program includes procedures specific to your worksite intended to prevent you from inhaling harmful contaminants in your workplace. OSHA requires that each employer must provide respirators to protect workers from workplace hazards during work to prevent inhalation of hazardous materials that cannot be controlled by other measures (i.e. engineering or administrative controls). The employer must establish and maintain a respiratory protection program, which is compliant with the OSHA respiratory protection standard and provides respirators suitable for their intended purpose.
The fundamental goal of any respiratory protection program is to protect workers against any adverse health effect caused by inhalation of contaminants in the work environment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) requires that each respiratory protection program must include a written plan detailing how the program will be administered. In addition to having a written program, the employer must also be able to demonstrate that the program is enforced and updated as necessary. The OSHA small entity compliance guide [PDF - 5.61 MB] is intended to help small businesses comply with the Respiratory Protection standard. It provides guidance only, and does not alter or determine compliance responsibilities, which are set forth in OSHA standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The written plan includes the following, as applicable to address the identified hazards of your worksite (items in bold are required, as applicable, for all worksites; and the others are optional):
- Procedure for selecting respirators for use in the workplace
- Medical evaluation of employees required to wear respirators
- Fit testing procedures for tight fitting respirators
- Procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations
- Procedures and schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, and discarding and otherwise maintaining respirators
- Procedure to ensure adequate quality, quantity and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying air respirators
- Training of employees in the proper use of respirators, including putting on and removing them, any limitations on their use and their maintenance
- Procedures for regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program
- Procedures for ensuring that workers who voluntarily wear respirators (excluding filtering facepieces) comply with the medical evaluation, and cleaning, storing and maintenance requirements of the standard
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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