Breathing Easier – Respiratory Protection

The world of safety compliance should not be confusing. Rules are in place to maintain a safe workplace. This week we are going to look at respiratory protection. The OSHA standard is 1910.134.

  • When feasible engineering or administrative controls are not possible in controlling
    breathable toxic substances, appropriate respiratory protection must be provided.
  • All evaluations, training, and equipment will be provided by the employer at no cost to the employee.
  • An evaluation of work conditions must be performed to determine contaminants, anticipated exposure levels, and identify protective measures to prevent exposures to employees.
  • All respirators and associated equipment must be approved by NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health).
  • All cartridges or canisters for respirators shall have an end of life indicator or the employer must establish a change out schedule based on historical or objective data determined from evaluating the exposures.
  • Employees must be trained to inspect, maintain, don, use, and doff the respirator issued to them.
  • A respirator medical questionnaire must be completed by the employee and reviewed by a medical provider.
  • Employees must also be fit tested to determine the correct size of respirator that is needed.
  • Those employees wearing respirators cannot have any facial hair that interferes with the seal of the mask.
  • Employees wanting to wear a respirator for their own protection, fall under the Voluntary Use and are not required to have the medical evaluation and fit test.

In order to wear a respirator at SSOE, employees must contact the Safety Department via HelpDesk to request a respirator. The employee will need to provide the following information:

  • Location of employee.
  • Project name and location.
  • Anticipated duration of use.
  • Substance to be protecting from.
  • Approval of respiratory medical evaluation clearance.
  • Be fit tested.
  • Receive training on use and care of the respirator.
  • The Safety Department will provide the correct respirator needed based on the information provided.
  • Employees must also be clean shaven within 24 hours and with no more than a moustache.
  • A “dust mask” is a respirator if in an area where a respirator is required or will be needed based on the exposure.