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Respiratory Protection

Individual respirators are required whenever work is performed in atmospheres where harmful particulate, gas or vapor contaminants exceed OSHA specified limits or in which there is an oxygen deficiency. In order for a respirator to adequately provide the degree of protection needed, the equipment selected must match the nature of the hazard and the respirator must be maintained and worn properly. Provisions in this procedure focus on the fulfillment of these requirements.

Atmospheric contaminants will be eliminated as far as feasible by engineering control methods such as enclosure of the operation, general and local ventilation or by substitution of less toxic materials.


Employees cannot be assigned any job requiring respiratory protection until the University Health Services has determined that they are physically and physiologically capable of using a respirator. Supervisors who wish to schedule an employee for a respirator medical exam should first contact the Safety Officer so that a description of the job, harmful materials used, exposure level, and respirator type can be developed. This information must be provided to the University Health Services for each person evaluated. The Health Service notifies the Safety Officer of their determination for each employee.

Fit Test

Employees cannot wear respirators in hazardous atmospheres until they have been qualitatively fit tested for their respirator. These tests are necessary to assure leaks do not occur between the respirator and face and that all contaminated air is actually inhaled through the filter cartridges. The Safety Officer should be contacted to arrange fit testing. Positive pressure air supplied hoods do not require fit testing.

Employees with beards are not allowed to perform tasks which require respirators unless they use a positive pressure air supplied hood. The presence of facial hair prevents an airtight seal between the respirator and the face causing contaminated air to leak into the breathing zone.


Employees cannot wear respirators in hazardous atmospheres until they are trained in the selection, use and limitations of respirators. The Safety Officer should be contacted to arrange for training of employees.

Assignment of Respirators

Respirators are maintained by the Safety Officer and usually assigned to individuals for specific jobs. Each respirator is assigned to a specific individual and must not be shared among employees. At the completion of the job the respirator must be returned to the Safety Officer. Employees whose job duties frequently require a respirator are permanently assigned an individual respirator.


Respirators must be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Between uses the respirator must be stored in a clean and dry location.


Task Exposure Control Monitor
Wood Floor Finishing And Coating  Organic Vapors Half-Mask/Organic Vapor Cartridge Hydrocarbons (<50 Ppm)
Spray Painting Organic Vapors/Mists Half-Mask/Organic Vapor Cartridge Mist Filter.   
Painting Inside With Oil Base Paint And Coatings  Organic Vapors Half-Mask/Organic Vapor  
Sandblasting Silica Dust Supplied Air Hood   
Pesticide Application Organic Vapors Toxic Vapors Mist  Half-Mask/Pesticide Cartridge   
Boiler Cleaning Boiler Scale Supplied Air Hood   
Asbestos Maintenance Asbestos Half-Mask/HEPA Filter Asbestos (Hydrocarbons <50 PPM) 
Application OfAdhesive Organic Vapors Half-Mask/Organic Vapor Hydrocarbons (<50 PPM) 
Ceramic Glaze  Toxic Dusts Vented  
Clay Mixing  Clay Dusts Vented  
Etching Bath  Nitric Acid Vented  
Screen Wash  Organic Vapors Vented  
Plate Wash Organic Vapors Vented Formaldehyde (no reading)
Human Dissection Formaldehyde Vented Formaldehyde (no reading)
Laboratory Various Fume Hood Benzene (no reading)
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