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RESPIRATOR PROGRAM

What is a respirator program?

When respirators are provided, the employer must establish a respiratory protection program in accordance with the OSHA standard on respiratory protection, 29 CFR 1910.134.

The employer must develop and implement a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures and elements for required respirator use.

The program must be administered by a suitably trained program administrator. In addition, certain program elements may be required for voluntary use to prevent potential hazards associated with the use of the respirator. The Small Entity Compliance Guide contains criteria for the selection of a program administrator and a sample program that meets the requirements of this paragraph. Copies of the Small Entity Compliance Guide are available from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Office of Publications, Room N 3101, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20210.

The employer must update the program as necessary to reflect those changes in workplace conditions that affect respirator use. The employer must include in the program the following:

  • Procedures for selecting respirators for use in the workplace;
  • Medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators;
  • Fit testing procedures for tight-fitting respirators;
  • Procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations;
  • Procedures and schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, discarding and otherwise maintaining respirators;
  • Procedures to ensure adequate air quality, quantity and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators;
  • Training of employees about the respiratory hazards to which they are potentially exposed during routine and emergency situations;
  • Training of employees in the proper use of respirators, including putting on and removing them, any limitations on their use and their maintenance; and
  • Procedures for regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

 

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