Factors affecting the use of respiratory protection in mining activities were reviewed and discussed. The relevant regulations were reviewed and the types of respiratory protection which are available were considered. The medical aspects of respirator wear were noted including pulmonary effects, cardiovascular effects, thermal effects, psychological effects, and other effects (including local irritation, and contact lens problems when used with respirators). Medical evaluation for respirator use was discussed; factors included the claustrophobia/anxiety reaction, moderate or severe pulmonary disease, angina pectoris, significant arrhythmias, recent myocardial infarction, symptomatic or uncontrolled hypertension, and advanced age. The authors conclude that individual judgment is needed to determine the factors affecting the ability and fitness of an individual to wear a respirator.