University of West Georgia
Respiratory Protection Program
Table of Contents
4.1) Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
4.2) Program Administrator
4.3) Tanner Occupation Health Clinic (TOHC)
5.1) Program Procedure
5.2) Medical Monitoring Procedure
5.3) Fit Testing Procedure
5.4) User Seal Check Procedure
5.5) Monitoring Air Contaminants Procedure
6.1) Respirator Selection
6.2) Respirator Use
7.1) Air-Purifying Respirator
7.2) Supplied-Air Respirator
12.2) Cleaning and Disinfecting
14.1) Environmental Health and Safety
14.2) Tanner Occupational Health Clinic
This respiratory protection program has been established to protect the health of workers who wear respirators and assure compliance with State and Federal law.
The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates respiratory protection in the workplace through the General Industry Standard, 29 CFR Part 1910.134. OSHA regulations may be obtained through their home page at http://www.osha.gov/
Georgia State employees are not required to comply with OSHA standards; however, it is the policy of the University of West Georiga (UWG) to provide employees with a safe and healthful working environment by following the best management practices available. OSHA standards are often viewed as the minimum acceptable standard in industry.
Utilizing facilities and equipment that have all feasible safeguards incorporated into their design accomplish safe and healthful working environments. When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or when they are being initiated, protection shall be used to ensure personnel protection. Employees of the University of West Georiga, during their regular course of duty, may be required to enter environments where airborne contaminates, toxins, or sufficants are present.
This program does not apply to contractors, as they are responsible for providing their own respiratory protection programs and respiratory protective equipment.
3.0) Program Components
· Medical Certification of Employee Fitness
· Monitoring of Air Contaminants
· Selection of Respirators
· Inspection, Care, Maintenance and Storage of Respirators
· Program Evaluation
· Record keeping
4.1) Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
EHS is responsible for establishing and maintaining a respiratory protection program consistent with the goal of protecting UWG personnel. EHS will implement a Respiratory Protection Program, which is designed and organized, to ensure respirators are properly selected, used and maintained by UWG personnel and meet federal regulatory standards (29 CFR 1910.134) and industry accepted standards (ANSI). This program will be updated when changes in regulations exist.
Employees will not be assigned respiratory protection devices unless it has been determined that the employee is physically able to perform the work and use the respirator. Prior to performing a fit-test, employees shall have successfully completed a pulmonary function test and be certified as capable of wearing a respirator by a physician so designated by UWG. The respirator user’s medical status will be reviewed as needed.
4.2) Program Administrator
As administrator for the program, EHS has the authority to make decisions and implement changes to the respiratory protection program as necessary. The responsibilities of the administrator shall include but not be limited to the following:
· Area Designation - Identification of areas requiring respiratory protection.
· Hazard Assessment - Determining the level of protection necessary to accomplish a specific task.
· Respiratory Protection Selection, Purchasing and Inventory - Must be compatible with units in use, to reduce inventory and cost.
· Employee Training - Establishment of respiratory equipment training program for employees.
· Establishment of a respiratory equipment cleaning and inspection program.
· Designation of proper storage areas for respiratory equipment.
· Establishment of issuance and accounting procedures for uses of respiratory equipment.
· Establishment of medical screening program/procedures for employees assigned to wear respiratory equipment.
· Conduct qualitative fit testing.
· Establishment of a periodic inspection schedule of those workplaces/conditions that require respiratory equipment in order to determine exposure and/or changing situations.
· Evaluate program for effectiveness.
· Establish procedure for record retention and maintenance.
4.3) Tanner Occupational Health Clinic (TOHC)
Tanner Occupation Health Clinic is UWG’s designated health provider for this program. TOHC will provide medical evaluations, surveillance procedures and review the health status of all personnel who may be required to wear respiratory protective equipment in the completion of their assigned tasks.
Supervisors will assist EHS in identifying potential hazards by, performing a hazard assessment for each job function in their unit. Employees in need of respiratory protection will be provided an area and allowed to fill out their medical questionnaire during working hours. In addition, supervisors will ensure each employee under his or her supervision using a respirator has received appropriate training in its use and receives annual medical evaluations when necessary. Supervisors will help provide adequate storage facilities, encourage proper respirator equipment maintenance and report any problems associated with this program to EHS.
It is the responsibility of each employee to wear his/her respirator when performing tasks in areas where the potential for exposure to airborne contaminants, sufficants, or toxins exist and in the manner in which they were trained. The employee shall maintain a facial surface consistent with a proper fit of the respiratory protective device, (i.e., no beards and clean-shaven). The employee must also guard against mechanical damage to the respirator; clean the respirator as instructed and stores the respirator in a clean, sanitary location. Respirator wearers must report any malfunctions of the respirator to his/her supervisor immediately. Any employee who has questions or problems with respirators or their use must immediately notify EHS.
Contractors are required to develop and implement a respiratory protection program for their employees who must enter into or work in areas where exposure to hazardous materials cannot be controlled or avoided. This program must meet OSHA regulations and include issuance of respirators, medical evaluations, fit testing and training.
5.1) Program Procedure
Respiratory protection devices will be chosen after considering the following factors:
· Health of the worker and ability to wear a respirator.
· Nature of the hazard, e.g. toxicity, chemical and physical properties.
· Extent of the hazard (concentration) and time of exposure.
· Work requirements and conditions.
· Characteristics and limitations of available respirators.
5.2) Medical Monitoring Procedure
TOHC, initially and periodically thereafter, makes a determination as to whether or not an employee can wear the required respirator without physical or psychological risk. This evaluation is based on the overall health of the individual through the use of a medical questionnaire and initial medical examination. Special medical tests (pulmonary function studies, EKG, chest X-rays) and procedures will be determined by the Occupational Health Physician and will be in accordance with OSHA medical surveillance requirements and/or NIOSH recommendations. All information provided is confidential and the examination is at no cost to the employee. The examining physician determines whether or not the individual will be restricted from wearing respiratory protective equipment. If a medical restriction is applied, the employee, his/her supervisor and EHS are formally notified of the restriction and alternative work arrangements are made.
At a minimum, UWG will provide additional medical evaluations if:
· Employee reports medical signs or symptoms related to the ability to use a respirator.
· A health physician, supervisor, or the program administrator recommends that an employee be reevaluated.
· Information from the respirator program, including observations made during fit testing and program evaluation, indicates a need for reevaluation, or
· A change occurs in workplace conditions that may substantially increase the physiological burden on an employee.
5.3) Fit Testing Procedure
A fit test shall be used to determine the ability of each individual respirator wearer to obtain a satisfactory fit with any air-purifying respirator. Personnel must successfully pass the fit test before being issued an air-purifying respirator. No UWG employee is permitted to wear a negative-pressure respirator in a work situation until he or she has demonstrated that an acceptable fit can be obtained. Respirator fitting is conducted initially upon assignment to a task requiring use of a respirator. Refitting is conducted annually thereafter upon successful completion of respirator training.
NOTE: The test will not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the skin and the facepiece sealing surface, such as stubble beard growth, beard, mustache or sideburns which cross the respirator sealing surface. Any type of apparel, which interferes with a satisfactory fit, shall be altered or removed.
Fit testing must be performed by EHS staff or designated individuals. Test results will be the determining factor in selecting the type, model and size of negative-pressure respirator for use by each individual respirator wearer prior to initial use. Fit testing will be performed after the employee has obtained a medical certificate. Before conducting the fit test, positive and negative pressure checks will be performed to ensure proper fit.
Employees using tight-fitting facepiece respirators must pass an appropriate qualitative fit test (QLFT). This test checks the subject’s response to a chemical introduced outside the respirator facepiece. This response is either voluntary or involuntary depending on the chemical used. The test irritant may consist of one of the following: Isoamyl acetate; saccharin; bitrex, or irritant smoke.
Additional fit testing must be done whenever something happens which could affect the fit of a respirator. Such as when an employee’s facial characteristics change (e.g., facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or obvious change in body weight); or whenever a different respirator facepiece (size, style, model or make) is used, and on an annual basis thereafter. If the employee finds the fit of the respirator unacceptable, he/she will be given the opportunity to select a different respirator and to be retested.
5.4) User Seal Check Procedure
The user will perform positive and negative pressure seal checks to ensure that an adequate seal is achieved each time the respirator is used. These checks are not a substitute for fit testing. Respirator users must be properly trained in the performance of these checks and understand their limitations.
A. Negative Pressure Check
Applicability/Limitations: This test cannot be carried out on all respirators. It can be used on facepieces of air purifying respirators equipped with tight-fitting respirator inlet covers and on atmosphere supplying respirators equipped with breathing tubes which can be squeezed or blocked at the inlet to prevent the passage of air.
Procedure: Close off the inlet opening of the respirator’s canister(s), cartridge(s), or filter(s) with the palm of the hand, or squeeze the breathing air tube or block its inlet so that it will not allow the passage of air. Inhale gently and hold for at least 10 seconds. If the facepiece collapses slightly and no inward leakage of air into the facepiece is detected, it can be reasonably assumed that the respirator has been properly positioned and the exhalation valve and facepiece are not leaking.
B. Positive Pressure Check
Applicability/Limitations: This test cannot be carried out on all respirators. Respirators equipped with exhalation valves can be tested:
Procedure: Close off the exhalation valve or the breathing tube with the palm of the hand. Exhale gently. If the respirator has been properly positioned, a slight positive pressure will build up inside the facepiece without detection of any outward air leak between the sealing surface or the facepiece and the face.
5.5) Monitoring of Air Contaminants Procedure
EHS staff will monitor air contaminant levels during routine operations before the type of respiratory protection is selected. Existing operations undergoing a change that might significantly alter the concentration of air contaminants should be re-evaluated by EHS to determine if another method of protection is appropriate.
Air purifying respirators are not to be used if any of the following conditions exist:
· Oxygen deficient atmospheres (less than 19.5%).
· Conditions that pose an immediate threat to life or health and/or conditions that pose an immediate threat of severe exposure to contaminants that are likely to have delayed adverse affects on health.
· Conditions of known contaminant concentrations not immediately dangerous to life.
6.1) Respirator Selection
Respirators will be selected by EHS based on the Examining Physician’s certification and the exposure hazard. Selection of proper respirator(s) to be used in any work area or operation at UWG is made only after a determination has been made as to the real and/or potential exposure of employees to harmful concentrations of contaminants in the workplace atmosphere. This evaluation will be performed prior to the start of any routine or non-routine tasks requiring respirators. Respiratory protective devices will be selected by EHS. The following items will be considered in the selection of respirators:
· Comfort, fit and worker acceptance
· Effectiveness of the device against the substance of concern
· Estimated maximum concentration of the substance in the work area
· General environment (open shop or confined space, etc.)
· Known limitations of the respiratory protective device, and
· Other contaminants in the environment or potential for oxygen deficiency
Supervisors shall contact EHS prior to non-routine work, which may expose workers to hazardous substances or oxygen deficient atmospheres. Examples of work which may require the use of respirators includes, but are not limited to:
· Asbestos abatement activities
· Abrasive blasting
· Cutting or melting lead or stripping lead-based paints from surfaces
· Welding or burning
· Painting, especially with epoxy or organic solvent coatings
· Using solvents thinners or degreasers
· Any work which generates large amounts of dust
· Working in a confined space
· Using formaldehyde to decontaminate a space
A review of the real and/or potential exposures is made at least annually to determine if respiratory protection continues to be required, and if so, to determine if the previously chosen respirators still provide adequate protection.
6.2) Respirator Use
It is mandatory that employees wear the appropriate respirator when working where the air contains regulated substances in concentrations exceeding the permissible exposure limit (PEL) and whenever there is potential exposure to a contaminant substance for which the contaminant’s material safety data sheet (MSDS) prescribes respirator use.
Respiratory protection is authorized and issued for the following personnel:
· Workers in areas known to have contaminant levels requiring the use of respiratory protection or in which contaminant levels requiring the use of respiratory protection may be created without warning (e.g., emergency purposes such as hazardous material spill responses).
· Workers performing operations documented to be health hazardous and those unavoidably required to be in the immediate vicinity where similar levels of contaminants are generated.
· Workers in suspect areas or performing operations suspected of being health hazardous but for which adequate sampling data has not been obtained.
No employee shall perform a job that requires respirator use or be present at any place where respirators are necessary unless all provisions of this Respirator Program are observed. Any employee performing such a job, or present in such a place, who is wearing a respirator must immediately cease their work, leave the area and report the matter to their supervisor whenever any of the following conditions exist:
· Dizziness, difficulty breathing or other physical stresses or disorder.
· Damage to or ineffectiveness of, the respirator being worn.
· The smell or taste of any contaminant or any unfamiliar smell or taste or other such sensation that troubles or concerns such employee.
· Lack of the respirator training and instruction required under this Program or the absence of any other requirement of this Program.
· Surveillance of conditions in the work area and degree of worker exposure or stress (combination of work rate, environmental conditions and physiological burdens of respirator) must be maintained at all times.
Changes in operating procedures, temperature, movement of air, humidity and work practices may influence the concentration of a substance in the work area atmosphere. These factors may necessitate periodic monitoring of the air contaminant concentration. If testing is undertaken, it should continue in order to assure that the contaminant has not risen above the maximum capability of the respirators being used.
7.0) Types of Respirators
7.1) Air-Purifying Respirator
These respirators remove air contaminants by filtering, absorbing, adsorbing, or chemical reaction with the contaminants as they pass through the respirator canister or cartridge. This respirator is to be used only where adequate oxygen (19.5 to 23.5 percent by volume) is available. Air-purifying respirators can be classified as follows:
· Particulate removing respirators, which filter out dusts, fibers, fumes and mists. These respirators may be single-use disposable respirators or respirators with replaceable filters.
NOTE: surgical masks do not provide protection against air contaminants. They are never to be used in place of an air-purifying respirator. They are for medical use only.
· Gas-and vapor-removing respirators, which remove specific individual contaminants or a combination of contaminants by absorption, adsorption or by chemical reaction. Gas masks and chemical-cartridge respirators are examples of gas-and vapor-removing respirators.
· Combination particulate/gas-and vapor-removing respirators, which combine the respirator characteristics of both kinds of air-purifying respirators.
7.2) Supplied-Air Respirator
These respirators provide breathing air independent of the environment. Such respirators are to be used when the contaminant has insufficient odor, taste or irritating warning properties, or when the contaminant is of such high concentration or toxicity that an air-purifying respirator is inadequate. Supplied-air respirators, also called airline respirators, are classified as follows:
A. Demand - This respirator supplies air to the user on demand (inhalation) which creates a negative pressure within the facepiece. Leakage into the facepiece may occur if there is a poor seal between the respirator and the user’s face.
B. Pressure-Demand - This respirator maintains a continuous positive pressure within the facepiece, thus preventing leakage into the facepiece.
C. Continuous Flow - This respirator maintains a continuous flow of air through the facepiece and prevents leakage into the facepiece.
D. Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) - This type of respirator allows the user complete independence from a fixed source of air and offers the greatest degree of protection but is also the most complex. Training and practice in its use and maintenance is essential. This type of device will be used in emergency situations only.
Respirator cartridges and canisters are designed to protect against individual or a combination of potentially hazardous atmospheric contaminants, and are specifically labeled and color coded to indicate the type and nature of protection they provide.
The NIOSH approval label on the respirator will also specify the maximum concentration of contaminant(s) for which the cartridge or canister is approved.
If cartridges have no “end of service life indicator” a change schedule must be used. Employees must change cartridges at the end of every shift if working in areas of heavy particulate contamination or whenever breakthrough occurs. Cartridges must be changed after 24 hours of use in work areas with moderate particulate contamination or whenever breakthrough occurs. For general use, filters and cartridges need to be changed whenever it becomes difficult to breathe, when you can smell or taste the air coming through the mask, or when they get wet.
A. Particulate Air-Purifying – When breathing difficulty is encountered with a filter respirator (due to partial clogging with increased resistance), the filter(s) must be replaced. Disposable filter respirators must be discarded.
B. Gas or Vapor Air-Purifying – If, when using a gas or vapor respirator (chemical cartridge or canister), any of the warning properties (e.g., odor, taste, eye irritation, or respiratory irritation) occur, promptly leave the area and check the following:
· Proper face seal
· Damaged or missing respirator parts
· Saturated or inappropriate cartridge or canister
If no discrepancies are observed, replace the cartridge or canister. NOTE: If any of the warning properties appear again, the concentration of the contaminants may have exceeded the cartridge or canister design specification. When this occurs, an airline respirator or SCBA is required.
C. Service Life of Air-Purifying Canisters and Cartridges – the canisters or cartridges of air-purifying respirators are intended to be used until filter resistance precludes further use, or the chemical sorbent is expended as signified by a specific warning property, e.g., odor taste etc. New canisters, cartridges or filters shall always be provided when a respirator is reissued. When in doubt about the previous use of the respirator, obtain a replacement canister or cartridge.
D. Supplied Air Respirator – when using an airline respirator, leave the area immediately when the compressor failure alarm is activated or if air pressures drop is sensed. When using an SCBA leave the area as soon as the air pressure alarm is activated.
10.0) Respirator Distribution
Whenever possible, reusable respirators should be assigned to individual workers for their exclusive use. Permanently assigned respirators must be durably marked with the name of that person and the date issued. When disposable respirators are issued the same models that were fit tested must be kept in stock.
EHS will issue a respirator from its stock when an employee is first fit tested or when a new type of respirator is issued on a subsequent fit. The employing department must provide EHS an account number to pay for the issued respirator and cartridges, or provide a replacement to EHS stock or the employee may bring their own assigned respirator in for fit testing.
Replacement cartridges will be stocked in the Facilities Warehouse for easy employee access.
When issued, all canisters/cartridges are properly labeled and colored by the manufacture. The user must maintain these labels and colors, until they are disposed.
If it is necessary to replace a reusable respirator because of loss or damage, the newly issued respirator must be fit tested before it is used. This is to ensure that the respirator is not defective.
Respirator users and their supervisors will receive training on the contents of the EHS Respiratory Protection Program and their responsibilities under it. Employees who will use respirators will be given training on a yearly basis by EHS. Retraining is given annually thereafter and only upon successful completion of the medical evaluation. Training may be performed after fit testing is complete or other arrangements may be made. In areas where job tasks and materials change, EHS must be contacted to provide updated training and hazard evaluations.
The training program will include the following:
· Nature and degree of respiratory hazard
· Respirator selection, based on the hazard and respirator capabilities and limitations
· Donning procedures and fit tests including hand’s on practice
· Care of respirator, e.g., need for cleaning, maintenance, storage, and/or replacement
· Use and limitations of respirator
Respirator training will be properly documented by EHS and will include the type and model of respirator for which the individual has been trained and fit-tested.
Each respirator must be inspected routinely before and after each use by the wearer. Respirators for emergency use must be inspected after each use or at least once each month, by the authorized user. Inspections of emergency respirators should be done according to manufacturers’ instructions.
The following parts of the respirator should be checked before each use.
· Headbands – Inspect for elasticity, breaks or tears in the material. Replace any worn or frayed straps.
· Facepiece – Check for signs of contamination or wear. Also check the shape of the facepiece for distortion and the material for flexibility.
· Inhalation and Exhalation Valves – Check the valves for tears, distortion, dirt between valve and seat and for proper seating of the valves.
· Cartridge Holders – Inspect for damaged threads.
· Cartridges/Filters – Make sure cartridges/filters are clean (do not attempt to clean by washing or blowing off with compressed air). Check for dents and other damage, particularly to the sealing bead on the bottom of the cartridge.
12.2) Cleaning and Disinfecting
Respirators issued for exclusive use must be cleaned and disinfected after eight hours of use, or as necessary to ensure protection for the wearer. The respirator can be cleaned with any mild antibacterial soap or detergent. The water temperature must not exceed 110oF. Do not use harsh alkali or acidic cleaners. A soft brush or cloth can be used to facilitate cleaning. Do not use alcohol or solvents to clean the mask. This will affect the integrity of the facepiece, which might go unnoticed.
A. Disassembly – Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions and diagrams.
· Remove filters, cartridges and associated retainers and filter bases and place in a clean container.
· Remove inhalation valves and clean separately. If needed remove exhalation valve assembly and clean separately.
· Remove and discard any part that is distorted, worn, or damaged. Replace with approved replacement parts after cleaning.
· It is not necessary to remove the headgear for cleaning purposes unless it is heavily soiled and can only be adequately cleaned when removed.
Rinse the respirator thoroughly to remove any soap or detergent residue, which could cause dermatitis. The respirator can be air-dried or forced air-dried so long as the temperature does not exceed 100oF. If using a forced air drier or other cabinet, place the respirator flat so it is not distorted during the drying process. Respirators used by more than one person and emergency respirators must be cleaned and disinfected after each use as arranged by the employing department.
B. Reassembly - Reverse the disassembly process or refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions and diagrams.
The Employing Department must arrange for replacement or repairs by experienced persons with parts designed for the respirator. Do not attempt to replace components or make adjustments or make repairs beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations. Self-contained breathing apparatus or airline respirators must be returned to a professional repair service or the manufacturer when it is required for repair or testing.
Cleaned and ready-to-use respirators can be stored in their original packaging or a similar bag can be used. All respiratory protection products must be stored away from the contaminated atmosphere. After inspection, cleaning and necessary repair, store respirators to protect them against dust, sunlight, heat, extreme cold, excessive moisture, or damaging chemicals. Care must be taken not to deform the respirator during storage. Do not store facepieces, cartridges, and filters in direct sunlight, high temperatures, high humidity or in any contaminated area. It is vital that respiratory equipment be stored in clean, dry areas so that it functions properly.
Do not store contaminated cartridges and/or filters with a clean mask. Cross contamination may occur. Cartridges may be reused if care is taken to avoid cross contamination between wearers.
Cartridges and most filters are shipped from the manufacturing facility in a polybag. This bag is not and was never intended to be airtight. Cartridges do not have to be stored in an airtight container or package. If stored properly, chemical cartridges will not lose any appreciable service life. Remember that cartridges are used for low concentrations of contaminants with good warning properties and in atmospheres in which the wearer of the respirator can escape without any respiratory equipment. The Employing Department must assure that adequate storage facilities are available.
13.0) Program Evaluation
EHS will evaluate this program through random inspections to assure that respirators are properly used, cleaned and maintained. Periodically EHS will survey to determine whether anyone is using a respirator who is not included within the program. Program evaluation reports will be sent to the employing department.
14.0) Record Keeping
14.1) Environmental Health and Safety - will maintain the following records:
A. Operations requiring respiratory protection.
· Specific respiratory protection used
· Names of employees who wear respirators
· Number and types of respirators in use.
Ø These records must be maintained for 30 years.
B. Employee training records.
Ø Records will be maintained for one year past the date of employment of that employee.
C. Fit tests performed on University employees.
Ø The records will be maintained for 30 years.
D. Records on respirator inspection and maintenance activities.
Ø These records must be maintained for five years.
E. Monitoring Records – will include the following information:
· Date of measure
· Operation involving exposure
· Sample and analytic measure
· Number, duration and results
· Type of respiratory protection worn
· Employee name, social security number, and
· Exposure of employees who exposures are represented.
Ø Asbestos exposure records will be maintained for 30 years.
14.2) Tanner Occupational Health Clinic - will maintain medical records according to their industry protocol.
15.0) Voluntary Use
Sometimes, workers may request to wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards. This is considered voluntary use. Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. You need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard.
You should do the following:
· Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations.
· Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, certifies respirators. A label or statement of certification should appear on the respirator or respirator packaging. It will tell you what the respirator is designed for and how much it will protect you.
· Do not wear your respirator into atmospheres containing contaminants for which your respirator is not designed to protect against. For example, a respirator designed to filter dust particles will not protect you against gases, vapors, or very small solid particles of fumes or smoke.
· Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else’s respirator.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
University of Minnesota
University of Oklahoma State
Wilson/Dalloz Safety Products
OSHA Standard, 29 CFR 1910.134