Respirator Trusted-Source Information

Section 3: Ancillary Respirator Information

Why do I have to be trained to use a respirator?

Respirators, including filtering facepiece respirators such as N95s, have model-specific user instructions including donning instructions and use limitations. Respirators are frequently misused for purposes in which they provide little to no protection. It is important to know what respirator to use and how to use it correctly so that it can provide the protection that is expected of it. OSHA (29 CFR 1910.134) regulations require that respirator training be provided prior to requiring an employee to use a respirator in the workplace. The training must be comprehensive, understandable, and recur at least annually – or more often if necessary.

OSHA identifies the following as minimum knowledge a respirator user should have upon completing respirator training:

  1. Why the use of a respirator is necessary (e.g., the respiratory hazards and how improper fit, usage, or maintenance can compromise the protective effect of the respirator)
  2. The limitations and capabilities of the respirator
  3. How to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations, including when the respirator malfunctions
  4. How to inspect, don (put on) and doff (remove), use, and check the seals of the respirator
  5. The procedures for maintenance and storage
  6. How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of the respirator

How often do I have to be retrained?

An employee should be trained annually, when exposure conditions change, when a new type or model of respirator is issued, or when the employee’s knowledge or use of the respirator indicates the need (e.g., the supervisor observes the wearer using the respirator improperly).

Page last reviewed: January 29, 2018