Respirator Policy & Procedure



To establish a Respirator Protection Program with regard
to the proper use of respirators.


The primary objective is to prevent excessive exposure to airborne contaminants. Where feasible, this shall be accomplished through engineering controls ( for
example, enclosure or isolation, general or local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials.) When effective engineering controls are not feasible or while they are being instituted
or evaluated, the use of appropriate respiratory protection will be required.


  1. Respirators shall be provided by Plymouth State University when such equipment is necessary to protect the employee.
  2. Plymouth State University shall provide the respirators that are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended.
  3. Plymouth State University shall be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a respiratory protection program that shall meet the requirements of appropriate regulatory standards.
  4. A respirator wearer shall be permitted by the employer to leave the hazardous area for any respiratory-related cause. Reasons may include but are not limited to the following:

  • – failure of the respirator to provide adequate protection;
  • – malfunction of the respirator;
  • – detection of leakage of air contaminant into the respirator;
  • – increase in resistance of respirator during breathing;
  • – severe discomfort in wearing the respirator;
  • – illness of the respirator wearer, including: sensation of dizziness, nausea, weakness, breathing difficulty, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, fever, and chills.
  • – to wash his/her face and the respirator face piece to minimize skin irritation;
  • – to change the air-purifying elements or other components,
    whenever needed;
  • – to take periodic breaks in an uncontaminated area.
  • Malfunctions of respiratory protective equipment shall be
    investigated by the employer to determne the cause
    and to assure corrective measures are taken. Suspected manufacturing defects
    should be reported to the manufacturer and certifying


    1. The employee shall use the provided respiratory protection
      in accordance with instructions and training received.
    2. The employee shall guard against all damage to the respirator.
    3. If a respirator malfunction occurs, the employee shall immediately
      leave the contaminated area and report the malfunction to
      his/hersupervisor or the safety officer designated.
    4. The employee shall report to his/her supervisor any change
      in his/her medical status that may impact the employee’s ability
      to wear a respirator safely.


    1. The coordinator of the Respirator Program shall be the Office
      of Environmental Services. It is the responsibility of the coordinator
      to assure that the elements outlined in this program are adhered to by
      all affected employees of Plymouth State University.
    2. Responsibilities include:

    • – Identifying areas requiring respiratory protection
    • – Evaluation of areas where respiratory protection is required
    • – Selection of appropriate level of respiratory protection
    • – Provide employee training in the use, selection, storage
      and maintenance of respiratory protection equipment
    • – Evaluate employees for suitability for respirator use and
      provide adequate fit testing procedures
    • – Coordinate the respirator inspection process
    • – Perform annual evaluation of the respirator program
    • – Maintain documentation on equipment certification and inspection,
      and employee training


    1. A physician shall determine whether or not an employee has
      any medical conditions that would preclude the use of respirators. The
      physician shall follow the guidance in ANSI Z88.6 (Appendix A) on the
      frequency and content of the examination. The
      program administrator shall advise the physician of the following
      conditions to aid in the determination of the medical evaluation
    • – The types of respirators for normal and emergency use;
    • – Typical work activities, environmental conditions, frequency
      and duration of use;
    • – The hazards for which the respiratory equipment will be
      worn including the potential exposures to reduced
      oxygen environments.


    1. Respirators users shall be instructed and trained in the
      proper use of respirators and their limitations. The
      elements of the training program are as follows:
    2. Classes of Respirators:

    A. Supplied Air Respirators (SAR) have a supply
    of pure, clean air that is fed directly to the respirator
    face piece. They are used in atmospheres where any
    of the following are present or possible:

    • – oxygen deficiency
    • – highly toxic contaminants
    • – IDLH conditions
    • – unknown type and quantities of contaminants
    • – contaminants with poor warning properties

    B. Air Purifying Respirators (APR) do not have their own
    supply of air, rather, they function by cleaning, or purifying the ambient
    or surrounding air. Hence, the use of APR’s has many
    limitations and restrictions. Air purifying respirators
    are worn ONLY when:

    • – oxygen concentration in the atmosphere is <_ 19.5%
    • – contaminant has adequate warning property
    • – types and levels of contaminant in atmosphere is not above
      IDLH or cartridge specifications


    Air purifying respirators DO NOT SUPPLY OXYGEN.

    Air purifying respirators may not be used in oxygen deficient
    atmospheres or atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).When
    using air purifying respirators for protection against gases and vapors,
    the contaminants MUST have adequate warning properties. Air purifying respirators
    are to be used in accordance with instructions, labels, and limitations
    pertaining to the device. Failure to do so voids the NIOSH/MSHA approval
    and the manufacture’s stated protection

    The respirator seal must be checked prior to entering
    the contaminated work area. Failure to do so may result in leakage which
    voids or limits protection. The work area is to left immediately if breathing
    becomes difficult, dizziness or other distress occurs, or if any odor,
    taste, or irritation is noticeable. Never alter or modify respirators.
    Only spare parts and filters from the manufacturer’s line may be used.
    Air purifying respirators are not to be used against gaseous materials
    which are extremely toxic in small concentrations. Chemical cartridge respirators
    cannot be used for protection against gaseous materials which are not effectively
    stopped by the activated carbon, regardless of the concentration. Air purifying
    respirators are not to be used unless the wearer has been trained in the
    selection, use, and maintenance of these devices. Air purifying respirators
    are not to be assigned to an individual for use unless it has been determined
    that he/she is physically capable of using the respirator. The determination
    is to be made by a physician.

    Respirators, even when worn conscientiously, do not provide
    the wearer 100% protection. The protection is, however, increased when
    the employee has an understanding of the warnings and limitations of these


    The selection of the proper type(s) of respirator(s) shall
    be based upon:

    • – the nature of the hazardous operation or process;
    • – the type of respiratory hazard (including physical properties,
      oxygen deficiency, physiological effects on the body, concentration of
      toxic levels, established limits for the toxic materials, and the established
      exposure limits for the toxic materials, and the established immediately
      dangerous to life or health concentration for the toxic material);
    • – the location of the hazardous area in relation to the nearest
      area having breathable air;
    • – the period of time for which the respiratory protection
      must be worn;
    • – the activities of the workers in the hazardous area;
    • – the physical characteristics and functional capabilities
      and limitations of the various types of respirators;
    • – respirator-assigned protection factors.


    Each respirator wearer shall be given documented training
    and retraining, which shall include explanations and discussions of:

    • – the respiratory hazard and the effect on the wearer if
      the respirator is not used properly;
    • – the engineering and administrative controls being used
      and the need for respirators to provide protection;
    • – the reason for selecting a particular type of respirator;
    • – the function, capabilities, and limitations of the selected
    • – the method of donning the respirator and checking its fit
      and operation;
    • – the proper wearing of the respirator;
    • – respirator maintenance, inspection, and storage;
    • – recognizing and handling emergency situations;
    • – applicable governmental regulations for specific substances.


    Each person shall be fit tested before being assigned
    a tight-fitting respirator. Each person using a tight-fitting respirator
    shall conduct a fit check of the respirator by appropriate means each time
    the respirator is donned or adjusted. All respirator fit testing must be


    Maintenance shall be carried out in accordance with the
    manufacturer’s instruction and on a schedule that insures that each respirator
    wearer is provided with a respirator that is clean, sanitary, and in good
    operating condition. Each respirator shall be inspected by the wearer prior
    to its use to ensure that it is in proper working condition. Respirators
    shall be stored in a convenient, clean, and sanitary location.


    All documents produced to meet the documentation requirements
    of this program (employee training, employee fit testing, equipment inspection
    etc. ) shall kept with the safety officer (program administrator).



    • Always make certain that the respirator is assembled correctly,
      has the appropriate cartridge for the work assignment, and a full inspection
      is made. All straps should be fully loosened. ( a respirator must be inspected
      by the wearer before and after each use to ensure good working condition.)
    • HALF-MASK: Secure lower strap around neck, place respirator
      under the chin and over the nose. Secure upper strap over the cradle of
      your head. Adjust straps from bottom to top of head for proper fit; be
      sure not to over tighten.
    • FULL FACEPIECE; Place respirator under chin, pull headgear
      over the head. Adjust straps from bottom to top of head for proper fit;
      be sure not to over tighten.
    • Perform negative and positive fit tests.


    Every respirator wearer shall receive fitting instructions
    including demonstrations and practice in how the respirator should be worn,
    how to adjust it, and how to determine if it fits properly. Respirators
    shall not be worn when conditions prevent a goo face seal. Such conditions
    may be a growth of beard, sideburns, a skull cap that projects under the
    face piece, or temple pieces on glasses. Also the absence of one or both
    dentures can seriously affect the fit of a face piece. Also, contact lenses
    should not be worn with a respirator.

    • Factors preventing a good seal:


    • NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE FIT TESTING – to be performed by employee.
      Both positive pressure and negative pressure fit checks must be performed
      by the employee after donning a respirator.
    • Place palm of hand over the exhalation valve cover and gently
      exhale to create slight pressure inside the face piece. Check the respirator
      seal by listening and feeling for leakage of air from the face piece. If
      leakage is detected, reposition the respirator on the face and/or readjust
      the tension of the headbands. Repeat until a satisfactory seal is obtained.
    • – Negative Pressure Fit Check
    • Place palms of hands over the cartridge (inhalation ports)
      and inhale gently to create negative pressure inside face piece. Hold breath
      for five to ten seconds. As the face piece collapses slightly, check the
      respirator seal by listening and felling for leakage of air from the face
      piece. If leakage is detected, reposition the respirator on the face and/or
      readjust the tension of the headbands. Repeat until a satisfactory seal
      is obtained.
    • Qualitative fit testing (to be performed annually by program
    • Qualitative fit testing must be performed initially for
      all respirator wearers and again if the person’s facial contour changes.
      Qualitative fit testing is performed to test the seal of the face piece.

    • Organic Vapors
    • (1) Use face piece equipped with organic vapor cartridge
      only; conduct test in area with no noticeable air movement.
    • (2) Saturate a tissue or cloth with isoamyl acetate (banana
      oil). Check that subject can detect the smell.
    • (3) Subject dons respirator; tester moves saturated tissue
      or cloth slowly around entire sealing surface of the respirator at a distance
      three to six inches while subject breathes shallowly, jog in place, stretches,
      and moves head from side to side and up and down.
    • Particulates
    • (1) Use face piece equipped only with high efficiency filters;
      conduct test in area with no noticeable air movement.
    • (2) Break both ends of a smoke tube, inserting one end into
      an aspirator bulb. Squeeze aspirator bulb to generate the test aerosol
      (stannic chloride). Check that subject can detect the presence of the irritant
    • (3) Subject dons respirator; tester directs smoke around
      entire sealing surface of the respirator a distance of three to six inches
      while subject breathes shallowly, jogs in place, stretches, and moves head
      from side to side and up and down.
    • (4) If subject detects the irritant smoke, record fit testing
      as unsatisfactory. Reinspect the respirator and face to face piece seal
      and retest. If wearer fails again, look into a different size and/or different
      manufacturer’s respirator.


    • Inspection
    • Respirators must be inspected and cleansed after each use.
      All detachable parts are removed and cleaned separately. They can be used
      again if their service life has not been exhausted. A log or record of
      inspections should be maintained.
    • To cleanse the face piece and other respirator parts, wash
      parts separately in sanitized solution. Parts should go through two water
      rinses and left to air dry on a paper towel or clean cloth. When dry. parts
      are assembled and the respirator fully inspected, placed in a clean, dry,
      airtight, plastic bag.
    • Maintenance
    • If any part of the respirator needs repair, be sure to go
      directly back to the manufacturer. Do not interchange parts from one manufacturer’s
      respirator to another. This void all approval codes issued to that respirator.
      Make all notes about repairs on the inspection report.
    • Storage
    • Respirators must be stored where they are protected from
      conditions that could alter the shape of the mask. Avoid storing respirators
      in areas of high heat, direct sunlight, extreme cold, very dusty environments,
      excessive moisture, or where objects may fall or be place on top of the

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