Respiratory Protection Program

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What is a respirator?

A protective face piece or hood that is used to protect the employee from harmful airborne agents.

Why and when is a respirator needed?

Employees should wear a respirator when an environment presents harmful dusts, smokes, fumes, gases, and vapors that cannot be changed or eliminated through engineering controls.  A respirator must be used when there is an oxygen deficiency atmosphere present.

What must an employer do?

Employers must establish and implement a written respiratory protection program.  The program should consist of the following:

  • Proper selection of the type of respirator that should be used for the job or task that is being completed. Respirators should be NIOSH approved.
  • Have the employee that will wear the respirator undergo a medical evaluation with a licensed physician or health care professional.
  • Require employee to undergo fit testing before use. The respirator must be the same make, model, style, and size that will be used by the employee.  Fit testing must be conducted and documented on an annual basis.
  • Establish proper use procedures for respirators.
  • Develop procedures for maintenance and care of respirators.
  • Establish requirements for the quality of air used for supplied air/SCBA respirators and the quality of filters, cartridges, and canisters used for tight-fitting respirators.
  • Conduct training with employees over the respiratory protection program.
  • Evaluate the respiratory protection program on a regular basis to make sure employees are using the respirator correctly in the work environment.

Make sure all employees have been properly trained on the use, maintenance, cleaning, and storage of the respirator.



KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.