Respiratory Protection Program
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) has developed this Program to promote a safe work environment and to protect the health and safety of Indiana University faculty and staff who are potentially exposed to airborne contaminants or may occupy an oxygen deficient atmosphere. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated a final rule 29 CFR 1910.134. This standard applies to all employees who are required to wear a respirator for any of their job tasks.
This Program applies to all Indiana University faculty and staff who are exposed to airborne contaminants that cannot be controlled through engineering or administrative controls. Employees who anticipate wearing respiratory equipment during an emergency incident are also covered.
This Program has the following objectives:
- Identify employees that are exposed to hazardous levels of airborne contaminants or become involved in tasks that take place in oxygen deficient atmospheres;
- Choose a respirator and filter or cartridge that will offer adequate protection. If a filter or cartridge doesn’t offer adequate protection, supplied air respirator may need to be used;
- Conduct all required medical surveillance to ensure that employees are physically able to wear respiratory protection;
- Fit test all employees who are required to wear a respirator during their work tasks; and
- Train employees required to wear a respirator on the proper use, maintenance and storage of the respirator.
No employee of Indiana University shall be issued or required to wear a respirator until the need for such protection is validated by IUEHS for their respective campus and the affected employee has met the criteria set forth by OSHA.
Authority and responsibility
- University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) shall be responsible for:
- Developing and administering the Indiana University Respiratory Protection Program;
- Identifying work areas within Indiana University facilities that have a need for employees to use a respirator and perform evaluations;
- Performing necessary personal air monitoring to determine exposure to potentially hazardous airborne contaminants;
- Determining if engineering and administrative controls can be put in place to eliminate exposure to respiratory hazards;
- Providing training and fit testing, or verifying it is done accordingly, to employees who are required to use a respirator;
- Confirming that the employees are medically fit to wear a respirator;
- Maintaining medical approval, fit test and training records;
- Evaluating and updating this Program periodically or whenever new information is available; and
- Ensuring compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations.
- Departments shall be responsible for:
- Identifying employees that are working with or have the potential to be exposed to respiratory hazards;
- Notifying IUEHS for the respective campus of potential respiratory hazards;
- Providing the appropriate work practices and controls for respiratory hazards;
- Providing necessary respiratory protection for all employees that are required to wear a respirator;
- Providing necessary equipment so that the user is able to clean and disinfect their personal respirator after each use;
- Ensuring that all employees who are required to wear a respirator as part of their job duties have received the proper training, fit testing, medical evaluation and equipment;
- Enforcing the proper use and maintenance of respiratory equipment;
- Covering costs associated with medical evaluations and necessary equipment; and
- Coordinating and consulting with IUEHS to ensure compliance with all state and federal requirements.
- Employees shall be responsible for:
- Completing the mandatory medical questionnaire and any medical evaluation requirements deemed necessary by the evaluating physician;
- Completing annual respiratory training and fit testing;
- Performing inspectors, care and maintenance of the respiratory equipment;
- Using the respiratory equipment correctly and conducting the proper pressure checks;
- Notifying his/her supervisor of any problems with the respirator or concerns about exposure to respiratory hazardous;
- Notifying his/her supervisor of any other respiratory hazards that have not been adequately addressed; and
- Maintaining facial surface consistent with a proper fit of the respirator (i.e., respirators shall not be worn when facial hair comes between the sealing surface of the face piece and the face or that interferes with valve function).
- Medical Evaluator, as identified by each respective campus, shall be responsible for:
- Reviewing medical questionnaire forms to determine if an employee is medically fit to wear respiratory protection equipment;
- Determining what tests, evaluations or medical checks are necessary to make the determination if an employee is medically fit to wear respiratory protection equipment;
- Providing determination if medically fit to wear respiratory equipment to IUEHS or other responsible groups who are conducting the fit testing on behalf of IUEHS;
- Providing a follow-up medical evaluation for any employee who they deem necessary based on responses from the questionnaire;
- When necessary, conducting routine medical examinations to determine if respirator users have been exposed to harmful levels of respiratory hazards; and
- Maintaining records as determined in the Recordkeeping section of this Program.
The primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination in the control of occupational diseases caused by breathing contaminated air. This shall be accomplished by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials). When effective engineering controls are not feasible (or while they are being instituted), appropriate respirators shall be provided and used consistent with this Program when necessary.
Voluntary Use of A Respirator
Where respirator use is not required, respirators may be provided at the request of the employees or employees shall be permitted to wear their own respirator, if IUEHS determines that the respirator use will not in itself create any additional hazard.
If IUEHS determines that a voluntary respirator is permissible, the document Appendix D- Voluntary Use - “Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required under the Standard” shall be provided. Appendix D of this Program shall be completed and signed by both the employee and supervisor and retained by the supervisor.
Each employee using a respirator voluntarily shall meet the medical criteria of this Program to ensure he/she is medically able to use the respirator. The employee shall follow all cleaning, storage, and maintenance requirements in this Program to ensure that the respirator does not present a health hazard to the user. Indiana University is not fiscally responsible for providing respirators, nuisance dust/procedural masks, or medical evaluations for those who voluntarily use respirators. The decision to purchase items for voluntary respirator use will be left up to the discretion of the department.
Exception: Employees who voluntary use nuisance dust and/or procedural masks are not required to meet the medical criteria of this Program.
Selection and Types of Respirators
Departments, with the assistance of IUEHS, shall identify and evaluate respiratory hazard(s) in the workplace for each operation, process, or work area where respiratory hazards may be present in routine operations or in emergencies. This evaluation shall include a reasonable estimate of employee exposures to respiratory hazard(s) and identification of the contaminant. Where employee exposure cannot be identified or reasonably estimated, the atmosphere shall be considered to be immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH).
There are two basic classes of respirators:
Air-purifying respirators use filters or sorbents to remove harmful substances from the air. They range from simple disposable masks to powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR’s). Air-purifying respirators do not supply oxygen and shall not be used in oxygen-deficient atmospheres or in areas that are immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).
Atmosphere-supplying respirators are designed to provide breathable air from a clean air source other than the surrounding contaminated work atmosphere. They range from supplied-air respirators (SAR's) to self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA's).
Selection of the type of respirator to be used will be based on the potential hazard involved. Essential information which may be obtained and evaluated when selecting the type of respirator includes:
- The potential of working in an oxygen deficient atmosphere;
- The hazardous airborne contaminants to which employees may be exposed;
- The form of the contaminants gas, vapor, dust, mist, fume, or combination;
- The concentration of expected hazardous airborne contaminants;
- IDLH levels and permissible exposure limits (PEL’s) for the contaminants;
- Flammable limits, odor thresholds, and other properties of the contaminants;
- Recommended protection factors for specific types of respirators;
- The likelihood of obtaining a proper fit;
- Comfort of the user relative to heat, humidity, and other conditions;
- Compatibility with heavy equipment and chemical protective clothing; and
- Availability of essential supplies, such as cartridges, and repair parts.
Once the general type of respirator has been selected for the job, the make, model and size will be chosen from those approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for the contaminant involved.
- Respirators for IDLH Atmospheres
For use within an IDLH atmosphere, one of the following shall be provided:
- A full facepiece pressure demand Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) certified by NIOSH for a minimum service life of thirty minutes; or
- A combination full facepiece pressure demand supplied-air respirator (SAR) with auxiliary self-contained air supply.
Respirators provided only for the escape from IDLH atmospheres shall be NIOSH-Certified for escape from the atmosphere which they will be used.
All oxygen-deficient atmospheres shall be considered IDLH.
- Gas and Vapor Protection
For protection against gases and vapors, one of the following respirators shall be provided;
- An atmosphere-supplying respirator; or
- An air-purifying respirator, provided that the respirator is equipped with an end-of-service-life-indicator (ESLI) certified by NIOSH for the contaminant or when there is no ESLI appropriate for conditions in the work place, refer to Appendix C “Respirator Cartridge Change-Out Schedules.
- Particulate Protection
For protection against particulates, one of the following respirators shall be provided:
- An atmosphere-supplying respirator; or
- An air-purifying respirator equipped with a filter certified by NIOSH under 30 CFR part II as a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, an air purifying respirator equipped with a filter certified for particulates by NIOSH under 42CFR part 84; or
- For contaminants consisting primarily of particles with mass median aerodynamics diameters (MMAD) if at least 2 micrometers, an air-purifying respirator equipped with any filter certified for particulates by NIOSH.
- Tuberculosis Exposure (TB) and other Infectious Disease Control
For protection against Tuberculosis or other infectious diseases, one of the following respirators shall be provided:
- A NIOSH approved N-95 particulate respirator which meets CDC guidelines for TB exposure control; or
- A powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) in combination with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and head cover or hood.
- Biological Exposure Control
- • An atmosphere-supplying respirator; or
• A NIOSH approved N-95 or greater particulate respirator; or
• A powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) in combination with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and head cover or hood.
Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees which vary with the type of respirator work, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is being worn and the medical status of the employee.
A medical evaluation is required by OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) for employees who wear respirators. OSHA requires that the medical evaluation consist of, at minimum, completion of the Respiratory Medical Evaluation Questionnaire by the employee and review of the questionnaire by a licensed health care professional or competent person. This requirement is intended to ensure that employees are physically able to wear a respirator.
Medical Evaluation Procedures
Employees shall obtain and complete a medical evaluation questionnaire by contacting IUEHS for your respective campus, or by visiting the website at www.protect.iu.edu/ehs. All completed questionnaires shall be returned to the Indiana University Medical Evaluator or IUEHS in a sealed enveloped marked “confidential” for review by the Indiana University Medical Evaluator for your respective campus.
The Respiratory Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Appendix B-1) shall be administered confidentially during the employee's normal working hours or at a time and place convenient to the employee. If the employee needs assistance in filling out or understanding the questionnaire, the Indiana University Medical Evaluator will provide assistance, so as to maintain confidentiality.
IUEHS shall provide the following information upon request to the Indiana University Medical Evaluator prior to the clinic making a recommendation concerning an employee's ability to use a respirator:
- The type and weight of the respirator to be used by the employee;
- The duration and frequency of respirator use (including use for rescue and escape);
- The expected physical work effort;
- Additional protective clothing and equipment to be worn;
- Temperature and humidity extremes that may be encountered;
- A copy of INDIANA UNIVERSITY’s Respiratory Protection Program; and
- A copy of 29 CFR 1910.134.
The Indiana University Medical Evaluator shall provide a written recommendation regarding the employee's ability to use the respirator including any limitations on respirator use related to the medical condition of the employee, or relating to the workplace conditions in which the respirator will be used, including whether or not the employee is medically able to use the respirator. The Indiana University Medical Evaluator shall also identify the need, if any, for follow-up medical evaluations.
Follow-up Medical Examination
A follow-up medical evaluation may be required for employees giving a positive response to any question among questions 1 through 9 in Part A, Section 2 of the questionnaire.
The follow-up medical evaluation shall include any medical tests, consultations or diagnostic procedures that the Indiana University Medical Evaluator deems necessary to make a final determination for respirator usage.
Additional Medical Evaluations
Additional medical evaluations shall be provided if:
- An employee reports medical signs or symptoms that are related to the ability to use a respirator;
- The Indiana University Medical Evaluator, the supervisor or representative from IUEHS recommends a re-evaluation;
- Information from the Respiratory Protection Program, including observations made during fit testing and program evaluation, indicates a need for employee re-evaluation; or
- A change occurs in workplace conditions (e.g., physical work effort, protective clothing, temperature) that may result in substantial increase in the physiological burden placed on an employee.
Fit Testing Procedures
After receipt of medical clearance from the Indiana University Medical Evaluator and before an employee may be required to use any respirator with a negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece, the employee shall be fit tested with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used.
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety or their designee shall provide qualitative or quantitative respirator fit tests in accordance with the OSHA-accepted protocol found in 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix A, the OSHA Respirator Standard for employees prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece (e.g., size, style, model, make) is used and at least annually thereafter.
An additional fit test shall be conducted whenever any of the following occurs:
• Significant weight change (20 pounds or more);
• Significant facial scaring in the area of the facepiece seal;
• Significant dental changes;
• Reconstructive or cosmetic surgery; or
• Other conditions that may interfere with the facepiece seal.
Fit tests will not be conducted on respirator users who have facial hair that will affect the seal between the respirator and skin.
Maintenance and Care
The respirators shall be kept in proper working condition by performing cleaning and disinfection, proper storage, inspection and repair. This link provides the OSHA respirator cleaning procedures.
Cleaning and disinfection
Employees shall be provided with a respirator that is clean, sanitary and in good working order. Employees shall clean and disinfect assigned respirators based on the manufactures recommendations. The respirators shall be cleaned and disinfected at the following intervals:
- Respirators issued for the exclusive use of an employee shall be cleaned and disinfected as often as necessary to be maintained in sanitary conditions;
- Respirators issued to more than one employee shall be cleaned and disinfected before being worn by a different individual;
- Respirators maintained for emergency use shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use;
- Respirators used in fit testing and training shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use; and
- Disposable particulate respirators shall be used exclusively by one employee and shall be discarded at the end of their service life.
Respirators shall be stored to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals. They shall also be stored to prevent deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve. Respirators used specifically for emergencies shall be kept accessible to the work area, stored in compartments or in covers that are clearly marked as containing emergency respirators and in accordance to the manufactures instructions.
Respirators shall be inspected before each use and during cleaning. Respirators used in emergency situations shall be inspected at least month and in accordance with the manufacture’s recommendations, and be checked for proper function before and after each use, Emergency escape-only respirators shall be inspected before being placed in the work area for use.
The inspection shall include the following:
- Respirator function
- Tightness of connections,
- The condition of the various parts including;
- The facepiece
- Head straps
- Connecting tube
- Cartridge, canister or filters
- Elastometric parts shall be checked for pliability and signs of deterioration.
Respirators that fail an inspection or are found to be defective shall be removed from service. The respirators shall either be discarded and replaced or repaired and adjusted in accordance with the following procedure:
- Repairs and adjustments are to be made by a competent person and shall use only respirator manufacturer’s NIOSH-approved parts designed for the respirator;
- Repairs shall be made according to the manufacture’s recommendations and specifications for the type and extent of repairs to be performed; and
- Reducing and admission valves, regulators, and alarms shall be adjusted or repaired only by the manufacturer or a technician trained by the manufacturer.
Training and Recordkeeping
Employees using a half-face, or full-face respirator shall complete the online half-face and full-face Respiratory Protection Training. Employees using an N95 respirator shall complete the Disposable dust/N95 Respiratory Protection Training. Employees using a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) shall complete the PAPR training. Training is provided by IUEHS through E Training located at One.IU. The training must be completed prior to being required to use a respirator in the workplace. The following items should be identified during the respirator training:
- Why a respirator is necessary and how improper fit, usage, or maintenance can compromise the protective effect of the respirator;
- Limitations and capabilities of the respirator;
- Components of the respirator: head straps, facepiece seal, valves, filters/cartridges;
- Pre-use inspection and evaluation;
- How to properly don and doff a respirator;
- Positive and negative pressure fit check procedures;
- When and how to change out the filters/cartridges;
- Factors that could affect the fit of the mask;
- Post-use inspection;
- Proper maintenance and storage of the respirator;
- Cleaning and disinfecting the respirator;
- How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent effective use of respirators; and
- The general requirements of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard.
Retraining shall be conducted at least annually or when the following situation occurs:
- Changes in the workplace or the type of respirator render previous training obsolete;
- Inadequacies in the employee's knowledge or use of the respirator indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill; or
- Any other situation arises in which retraining appears necessary to ensure safe respirator use.
Fit Test Records
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) shall maintain all copies of respirator training and fit-testing records for all Indiana University employees fit tested by IUEHS. Fit test records shall be retained until the next fit test is administered.
Records of medical evaluations shall be retained by the Indiana University Medical Evaluator for the duration of employment and 30 years thereafter.
- IU Respiratory Protection Program - PDF
Air-purifying Respirator: A respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element.
Canister or Cartridge: A container with a filter, sorbent, or catalyst, or combination of these items, which removes specific contaminants from the air passed through the container.
Disposable Respirator: A negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium. To be a certified filtering facepiece respirator, the mask must be NIOSH approved, double strapped and clearly labeled with both a letter designation (N, R, P) indicating resistance to oil degradation and a filtering efficiency (95, 99, 100)
Emergency Situation: Any occurrence such as, but not limited to, equipment failure, rupture of containers, or failure of control equipment that may or does result in an uncontrolled significant release of an airborne contaminant.
Employee Exposure: Exposure to a concentration of an airborne contaminant that would occur if the employee were not using respiratory protection.
End-of-Service-Life Indication (ESLI): A system that warns the respirator user of the approach of the end of adequate respiratory protection, for example, that the sorbent is approaching saturation or is no longer effective.
Escape-only Respirator: A respirator intended to be used only for emergency exit.
Filter or Air Purifying Element: A component used in respirators to remove solid or liquid aerosols from the inspired air.
Fit Test: The use of a protocol to qualitatively or quantitatively evaluate the fit of a respirator on an individual.
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter: A filter that is at least 99.97% efficient in removing monodisperse particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter. The equivalent NIOSH 42 CFR 84 particulate filters are the N100, R100 and P100 filters.
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH): An atmosphere that poses an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible adverse health effects, or would impair an individual’s ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere.
Negative Pressure Respirator: A respirator in which the air pressure inside the facepiece is negative during inhalation with respect to the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.
Nuisance Dust and Procedural Masks: These masks are barrier devices that have not been NIOSH-approve. They typically do not provide a tight fit between the mask and face. Examples include: biosafety masks, cleanroom masks, face masks, nuisance dust masks, and surgical masks.
Oxygen Deficient Atmosphere: An atmosphere with an oxygen content below 19.5% by volume.
Physician or Other Licensed Health Care Professional (PLHCP): An individual whose legally permitted scope of practice (e.g., license, registration or certification) allows him or her to independently provide, some or all of the health care services required by the standard.
Positive Pressure Respirator: A respirator in which the pressure inside the respiratory inlet covering exceeds the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.
Powered Air-purifying Respirator (PAPR): An air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.
Pressure Demand Respirator: A positive pressure atmosphere-supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the facepiece when the positive pressure is reduced inside the facepiece by inhalation.
Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT): A pass/fail fit test to assess the adequacy of respiratory fit that relies on the individual’s response to the test agent.
Quantitative Fit Test (QNFT) - The use of a machine to measure the actual amount of leakage into the facepiece.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA): An atmosphere supplying respirator for which the breathing air source is designed to be carried by the user.
Service Life: The period of time that a respirator, filter or sorbent, or other respiratory equipment provides adequate protection to the wearer.
Supplied Air Respirator (SAR) or Airline Respirator: An atmosphere-supplying respirator for which the source of breathing air is not designed to be carried by the user.
User Seal Check: An action conducted by the respirator user to determine if the respirator is properly seated to the face.
- Appendix C- Respirator Cartridge Change-Out Schedule
Air-purifying respirators function by removing contaminants from air before inhalation. Contaminants are removed by filtration (e.g., for asbestos, glass fiber), adsorption (e.g., for benzene, carbon tetrachloride), or by chemical reaction (e.g., for ammonia). Filters or cartridges designed for contaminant removal have limited effective service lives.
Particulate respirators or respirator filters should be changed if they become damaged, soiled, or an increase in breathing resistance becomes noticeable. In addition to these considerations, N series filters should not be used against oily aerosols, R series filters should be changed every 8 hours if used against oily aerosols; and P series filters used in environments containing oily aerosols should be limited to 40 hours of use or 30 days, whichever is first.
The service life of a cartridge depends upon many factors, including environmental conditions, breathing rate, cartridge filtering capacity, and the concentration of contaminants in the air. A safety factor should be applied to the service life estimate to assure that the change schedule is a conservative estimate.
- Appendix D - Voluntary Use of Respirator
Print the following form: Voluntary Use of Respirators
Revised: October 2017