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An evaluation of respirator maintenance requirements.

Brosseau LM; Traubel K
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1997 Mar; 58(3):242-246
A survey of maintenance practices incorporated in respiratory protection programs of companies using negative pressure air purifying respirators was conducted. Industrial hygienists, safety professionals, or similar officials at 28 companies in Minnesota were surveyed by telephone to obtain information on company demographics, respiratory hazards involved, their respiratory protection program including details on inspection, maintenance, and storage practices. The questions included in the survey were derived from the requirements and recommendations listed in the Code of Federal Regulations Standard 1910.134 and American National Standards Institute standard Z88.2-1980. The largest proportion of companies worked in the hardgoods manufacturing (43%) or the service industrial sectors (36%). Most (75%) of the companies employed 100 or more employees. Approximately 68% of the respondents reported that respirators were used daily at their company, 14% that they were used once a week, and 4% that they were used only yearly. Hazardous aerosols were the most frequently described occupational hazard, being reported by 68% of the respondents. Almost all (95%) of the companies had a formal respiratory protection program which included a written manual. The remaining 7% reported having an informal protection that did not include a written manual. Approximately 93% of the respondents reported that the respirators were inspected. Of these, 96% said that the employee was responsible for inspection. Approximately 96% of the respondents reported that the respirators were cleaned and sanitized. The employees were usually responsible for this. Approximately 79% of the respondents reported that maintenance, including replacing inhalation and exhalation valves, was performed occasionally or as needed. The authors conclude that most of the surveyed companies are meeting requirements and recommendations for maintaining respirators. The results of the survey, however, suggest that even companies with established respiratory programs may need to consider upgrading the maintenance aspects of respirator care such as inspecting all respirator parts before and after each use and having replacement parts readily available on site.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Respirators; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Quality-standards; Air-purifying-respirators; Industrial-hygiene
Environ & Occupational Health University of Minnesota 420 Delaware St Se, Box 197 Um Minneapolis, MN 55455
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
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Priority Area
Respirator Research; Respirators
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Performing Organization
University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division