Safety & Environmental Management

Respiratory Protection Program

Table of Contents:

  1. Purpose
  2. Program Administration
  3. Who Is Covered
  4. Program Elements
  5. Designated Responsibilities
I. Purpose
The purpose of this program is to ensure the protection of all UW-Green Bay employees from respiratory hazards in the work place through proper use of respirators. Respirators are to be used only where accepted engineering controls are not feasible to limit exposure to harmful air contaminants, while engineering controls are being installed, or in emergencies.

II. Program Administration
The UW-Green Bay University Safety Manager, Jill Fermanich, has been designated responsibility for the overall administration of this program and has authority to make necessary decisions to ensure success of this program. Supervisors who have employees covered by this program will have responsibility for assuring employee compliance with the program elements.

III. Who Is Covered
All UW-Green Bay employees who use a respirator on the job are covered by program elements listed in part IV. Employees who use respirators on the job are covered whether they are required to use a respiratory, voluntarily use a respirator supplied by UW-Green Bay or voluntarily use a respirator supplied by the employee. Exception: Employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering facepieces (dust masks) are not covered by this program.

Supervisor approval is required for voluntary use of respirator in workplace if respirator is supplied by the employee.

IV. Program Elements
  1. Respirators used in the workplace will be selected based on the respiratory hazard(s) to which the worker is exposed and workplace and user factors that affect respirator performance and reliability. Only NIOSH approved respirators shall be used.
  2. All UW-Green Bay employees covered by this program will undergo a medical evaluation to determine the employee's ability to use a respirator before the employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace. Prevea WorkMed, a licensed health care provider, will perform these medical evaluations for UW-Green Bay. Prevea WorkMed will provide the UW-Green Bay Respiratory Protection Program administrator a written recommendation regarding the employee's ability to use the respirator. Cost of medical evaluations is the responsibility of the budgetary unit to which the employee is assigned. Additional medical evaluations will be done when:

    • an employee reports medical signs or symptoms that are related to ability to use a respirator
    • Prevea WorkMed, the supervisor or the program administrator determines a reevaluation is needed
    • information from the respiratory protection program, including observations made during fit testing and program evaluation, indicates a need for employee reevaluation
    • a change occurs in workplace conditions that may result in a substantial increase in the physiological burden placed on an employee

  3. Before an employee uses a tight-fitting facepiece respirator in the workplace, the employee will be fit tested using the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used. Fit testing will be done prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece (size, style, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter. Fit testing will be done by the program administrator, Jill Fermanich, using one of the OSHA accepted protocols contained in Appendix A of 29 CFR 1910.134.

  4. A tight-fitting face piece respirator shall not be worn by an employee who has (1)facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face or that interferes with valve function or (2) any condition that interferes with the face-to-face piece seal or valve function (e.g. corrective glasses)
  5. Employees shall perform a user seal check each time they put on a tight-fitting respirator. Procedures for the seal check are found in Appendix B-1 of 29CFR1910.134.
  6. Supervisors will provide sufficient surveillance of the work area so that if there is a change in work area conditions or degree of employee exposure or stress that may affect respirator effectiveness, the supervisor will ensure that employee leaves the respirator use area and reevaluates conditions and respirators before allowing employee to return to the work area.
  7. Maintenance and Care of Respirators - The employee has primary responsibility for care and maintenance of respirators issued for their use. The area supervisor will ensure the employee meets this responsibility. Mandatory cleaning procedures are found in Appendix B-2 of 29-CFR 1910.134. Respirators issued for the exclusive use of an employee shall be cleaned and disinfected as often as necessary to be maintained in a sanitary condition. Respirators issued to more than one employee shall be cleaned and disinfected before being worn by different individuals. Employees issued a respirator for use in the workplace are responsible for storing the respirator to protect it from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals. In addition, the respirator must be packed or stored to prevent deformation of the face piece and exhalation valve.

    Employees shall inspect respirators before each use and during cleaning. Inspection will include a check of respirator function, tightness of connections, condition of the various parts, pliability of elastomeric parts and signs of deterioration. Employee shall report any conditions that require respirator replacement to the supervisor. Respirator shall not be worn if there is any question about condition of the respirator for use in the workplace.

  8. Supervisors will ensure that all filters, cartridges and canisters used in the workplace are labeled and color coded with the NIOSH approved label and that the label is not removed and remains legible.
  9. All employees covered by the Respiratory Protection Program will receive annual training. Training will be done by the program administrator, Jill Fermanich. Training will be conducted as to ensure that employees can demonstrate knowledge of the following:
    • why the respirator is necessary and how improper fit, usage, or maintenance can compromise the protective effect of the respirator.
    • what the limitations and capabilities of the respirator are
    • how to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations
    • how to inspect, put on and remove, use and check the seals of the respirator
    • what the procedures are for maintenance and storage of the respirator
      how to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of respirators
    • the general requirements of 29 CFR 1910.134
    Retraining will be conducted at least annually. When changes in workplace, type of respirator, or inadequacies in employee's knowledge or use of respirators indicate, additional training will be done.

  10. The program administrator with supervisor assistance will do a regular program evaluation to ensure that the program elements of this program are properly implemented.
  11. The program administrator will maintain program records including records of required medical evaluations and fit testing
V. Designated Responsibilities
  1. Program Administrator
    • Update and evaluate UW-Green Bay Respiratory Protection Program as needed.
    • Coordinate scheduling of medical evaluations with Prevea WorkMed
    • Do fit testing as required.
    • Provide annual respirator training for covered employees. Provide additional training as needed.
    • Provide assistance in identifying and evaluating respiratory hazards in the workplace.
    • Provide assistance in respirator selection.
    • Do regular program evaluation with assistance of supervisors.
    • Maintain required records including records of medical evaluations and fit testing.
  2. Supervisors
    • Ensure that all employees wearing respirators in the workplace (with the exception of employees voluntarily using filtering facepieces) are identified and covered by this program
    • Approve voluntary use of respirator use in workplace if respirator is supplied by the employee when appropriate criteria are met.
    • Select and assign respirator use in accordance with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.134
    • Ensure covered employees receive required medical evaluations.
    • Ensure covered employees attend mandatory training
    • Provide sufficient surveillance of the work area to ensure employee compliance with all program elements
    • Assist program administrator with regular program evaluations.
  3. Employees Covered by Program
    • Use only supervisor approved respirators in the workplace.
    • Undergo medical evaluations as required.
    • Attend training as required.
    • Complete fit-testing process before initial respirator use and as required thereafter.
    • Perform a user seal check each time a tight-fitting respirator is used.
    • Do not wear a tight-fitting respirator if facial hair (or other conditions) interferes with the sealing surface of the facepiece and face.
    • Clean and disinfect respirators using procedures found in Appendix B-2 of 29 CFR 1910.134.
    • Store respirator in accordance with established procedures.
    • Inspect respirator before each use and during cleaning. Report any conditions that would require respirator replacement before next use.
    • Report any work conditions that may require change in respirator selection and use.
    • Employee safety is the primary concern. Any questions and concerns an employee has on the effectiveness of a chosen respirator to protect against harmful air contaminants should be directed to the area supervisor or the program administrator.