Employers must implement a comprehensive written respiratory program when employees are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous gases or vapors, dust, fumes, mists, other airborne particles and infectious agents, or insufﬁcient levels of oxygen. Respiratory protection is required when control of the hazard is not feasible through engineering controls or while controls are being instituted. An effective respiratory protection program consists of worksite-speciﬁc procedures and policies that address all respiratory-protection elements as required by 1910.134, Respiratory Protection. Employers must provide respirators, training, and medical evaluations at no cost to employees.
Respiratory Program Element Highlights
Appoint an administrator to oversee and implement program. Identify respiratory hazards; estimate or measure worker exposure. Select appropriate NIOSH-certiﬁed respirators and respirator components. Provide medical evaluations; ensure records are kept. Fit-test workers who wear respirators with tight-ﬁtting facepieces; maintain records. Develop procedures for using respirators in routine situations and emergencies. Ensure voluntary respirator users receive a copy of 1910.134, Appendix D. Train all workers required to wear respirators. Ensure that respirators are clean, sanitary, and properly stored. Ensure that breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators meets Grade D quality. Evaluate the program to make sure it is effective.
What are the qualiﬁcations for an administrator? An administrator must have training or experience in accordance with the program’s level of complexity. Training is appropriate if it enables the administrator to recognize, evaluate, and control the hazards of the workplace.
How do I identify and evaluate worksite hazards? Conduct a worksite hazard analysis. A hazard analysis is a decision-making process that results in determining if a hazard or potential hazard is present. It should focus on worksite chemicals, process equipment, production material and by-products, and the capabilities, limitations, and possible failures of the process. Determine the state and physical form of the hazard: solid, liquid, or gas. Select appropriate respiratory protection based on the hazard.
Develop procedures for respiratory use in routine situations and emergencies. Personal monitoring is the most accurate way to obtain worker exposure information. OSHA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide has suggestions for measuring or making reasonable estimates of worker exposure. (www.osha.gov/Publications/secgrev-current.pdf) If you are unable to determine or estimate employee exposure, you must consider the worksite atmosphere “immediately dangerous to life or health” (IDLH) and select appropriate respiratory protection.
The Standards and Technical Resources Section of Oregon OSHA produced this fact sheet to highlight our programs, policies or standards. The information is from ﬁeld staff, research by technical resources staff, and published materials. We urge readers to also consult the rules, as this fact sheet information is not as detailed.
What are the cleaning, inspection, and storage requirements? Inspect and store respirators in accordance with 1910.134.