When respirators are required at a worksite, the employer must establish a respiratory protection program in accordance with the OSHA standard on respiratory protection, 29 CFR 1910.134.
Elements that have a more direct impact on the user include knowledge of selection criteria, medical evaluations, procedures for proper use, fit-testing, and maintenance procedures.
Below are the elements of a respiratory protection program:
- Selection: selecting appropriate respirators for use in the workplace.
- Training: training employees in the proper use of respirators (including putting them on and removing them), the limitations on their use, and their maintenance.
- Medical evaluation and surveillance: providing medical evaluation and surveillance of employees who must use respirators.
- Fit testing: testing tight-fitting respirators for proper fit.
- Respirator use: using respirators properly in routine situations as well as in reasonably foreseeable emergencies.
- Inspection: ensuring adequate air supply, quantity, and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators.
- Maintenance: establishing and adhering to schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, removing from service or discarding, and otherwise maintaining respirators.
- Program evaluation: regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program.