Respiratory Protection Manual

Respiratory Protection Program


 In the control of those occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials). When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators shall be used pursuant to this manual.



The following definitions are important terms used in the respiratory protection standard.

Air-purifying respirator means a respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element.

Assigned protection factor (APF) means the workplace level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when the employer implements a continuing, effective respiratory protection program as specified by this section.

Atmosphere-supplying respirator means a respirator that supplies the respirator user with breathing air from a source independent of the ambient atmosphere, and includes supplied-air respirators (SARs) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.

Canister or cartridge means a container with a filter, sorbent, or catalyst, or combination of these items, which removes specific contaminants from the air passed through the container.

Demand respirator means an atmosphere-supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the face piece only when a negative pressure is created inside the face piece by inhalation.

Emergency situation means any occurrence such as, but not limited to, equipment failure, rupture of containers, or failure of control equipment that may or does result in an uncontrolled significant release of an airborne contaminant.

Employee exposure means exposure to a concentration of an airborne contaminant that would occur if the employee were not using respiratory protection.

End-of-service-life indicator (ESLI) means a system that warns the respirator user of the approach of the end of adequate respiratory protection, for example, that the sorbent is approaching saturation or is no longer effective.

Escape-only respirator means a respirator intended to be used only for emergency exit.

Filter or air purifying element means a component used in respirators to remove solid or liquid aerosols from the inspired air.

Filtering face piece (dust mask) means a negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the face piece or with the entire face piece composed of the filtering medium.

Fit factor means a quantitative estimate of the fit of a particular respirator to a specific individual, and typically estimates the ratio of the concentration of a substance in ambient air to its concentration inside the respirator when worn.

Fit test means the use of a protocol to qualitatively or quantitatively evaluate the fit of a respirator on an individual. (See also Qualitative fit test QLFT and Quantitative fit test QNFT.)

Helmet means a rigid respiratory inlet covering that also provides head protection against impact and penetration.

High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter means a filter that is at least 99.97% efficient in removing mono disperse particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter. The equivalent NIOSH 42 CFR 84 particulate filters are the N100, R100, and P100 filters.

Hood means a respiratory inlet covering that completely covers the head and neck and may also cover portions of the shoulders and torso.

Immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) means an atmosphere that poses an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible adverse health effects, or would impair an individual's ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere.

Loose-fitting face piece means a respiratory inlet covering that is designed to form a partial seal with the face.

Maximum use concentration (MUC) means the maximum atmospheric concentration of a hazardous substance from which an employee can be expected to be protected when wearing a respirator, and is determined by the assigned protection factor of the respirator or class of respirators and the exposure limit of the hazardous substance. The MUC can be determined mathematically by multiplying the assigned protection factor specified for a respirator by the required OSHA permissible exposure limit, short-term exposure limit, or ceiling limit. When no OSHA exposure limit is available for a hazardous substance, an employer must determine an MUC on the basis of relevant available information and informed professional judgment.

Negative pressure respirator (tight fitting) means a respirator in which the air pressure inside the face piece is negative during inhalation with respect to the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

Oxygen deficient atmosphere means an atmosphere with an oxygen content below 19.5% by volume.

Physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) means an individual whose legally permitted scope of practice (i.e., license, registration, or certification) allows him or her to independently provide, or be delegated the responsibility to provide, some or all of the health care services required by the medical evaluation portion of this manual.

Positive pressure respirator means a respirator in which the pressure inside the respiratory inlet covering exceeds the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) means an air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

Pressure demand respirator means a positive pressure atmosphere-supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the face piece when the positive pressure is reduced inside the face piece by inhalation.

Qualitative fit test (QLFT) means a pass/fail fit test to assess the adequacy of respirator fit that relies on the individual's response to the test agent.

Quantitative fit test (QNFT) means an assessment of the adequacy of respirator fit by numerically measuring the amount of leakage into the respirator.

Respiratory inlet covering means that portion of a respirator that forms the protective barrier between the user's respiratory tract and an air-purifying device or breathing air source, or both. It may be a face piece, helmet, hood, suit, or a mouthpiece respirator with nose clamp.

Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) means an atmosphere-supplying respirator for which the breathing air source is designed to be carried by the user.

Service life means the period of time that a respirator, filter or sorbent, or other respiratory equipment provides adequate protection to the wearer.

Tight-fitting face piece means a respiratory inlet covering that forms a complete seal with the face.

User seal check means an action conducted by the respirator user to determine if the respirator is properly seated to the face.


Procedures for selecting respirators for use in the workplace;

It has been determined the following job classifications may encounter situations where the use of respirators is warranted. These employees must have the ability to wear respirators in accordance with this manual. Other classifications and/or activities will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Preventative Maintenance worker

Power Plant Operator – Assigned to Maintenance

Building Trades Specialist – Painter

Employees certified by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Air Pollution Control Program to work in asbestos projects.

Medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators;

Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees that varies with the type of respirator worn, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is used, and the medical status of the employee.

A medical evaluation will be provided 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.

Medical evaluations will be performed using a medical questionnaire or an initial medical examination that obtains the same information as the medical questionnaire. Appendix A

A follow-up medical examination will be provided for an employee who gives a positive response to any question among questions 1 through 8 in Section 2, Part A of Appendix A or whose initial medical examination demonstrates the need for a follow-up medical examination.

The follow-up medical examination shall include any medical tests, consultations, or diagnostic procedures that the PLHCP deems necessary to make a final determination.

The employee will have an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire and examination results with the PLHCP.


Medical determination;

In determining the employee's ability to use a respirator, the employee’s department shall obtain a written recommendation regarding the employee's ability to use the respirator from the PLHCP. The recommendation shall provide only the following information: Any limitations on respirator use related to the medical condition of the employee, or relating to the workplace conditions in which the respirator will be used, including whether or not the employee is medically able to use the respirator; The need, if any, for follow-up medical evaluations; and a statement that the PLHCP has provided the employee with a copy of the PLHCP's written recommendation. A copy of the recommendation shall be sent the office of Environmental Health & Safety.


Additional medical evaluations;

At a minimum, the employee’s department shall provide additional medical evaluations that comply with the requirements of this manual if:

An employee reports medical signs or symptoms that are related to ability to use a respirator;

A PLHCP, supervisor, or the respirator program administrator informs the employee’s department that an employee needs to be reevaluated;

Information from the respiratory protection program, including observations made during fit testing and program evaluation, indicates a need for employee reevaluation; or

A change occurs in workplace conditions (e.g., physical work effort, protective clothing, temperature) that may result in a substantial increase in the physiological burden placed on an employee.

Every five years.


Fit testing;

Before an employee is required to use any respirator with a negative or positive pressure tight-fitting face piece, the employee must be fit tested with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used.

The employee’s department shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting face piece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator face piece (size, style, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter. A pass/fail statement should be provided to the employee’s department. A copy of the statement shall be sent to the Environmental Health & Safety office.

The employee’s department shall conduct an additional fit test whenever the employee reports, or the employee’s department, PLHCP, supervisor, or program administrator makes visual observations of, changes in the employee's physical condition that could affect respirator fit. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or an obvious change in body weight.


Face piece seal protection;

The employee’s department shall not permit respirators with tight-fitting face pieces to be worn by employees who have:

Facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the face piece and the face or that interferes with valve function; or

Any condition that interferes with the face-to-face piece seal or valve function.

If an employee wears corrective glasses or goggles or other personal protective equipment, the employee’s department shall ensure that such equipment is worn in a manner that does not interfere with the seal of the face piece to the face of the use

For all tight-fitting respirators, the employee’s department shall ensure that employees perform a user seal check each time they put on the respirator using the procedures in Appendix B.


Maintenance and care of respirators;

 The employee’s department shall provide each respirator user with a respirator that is clean, sanitary, and in good working order. The employee’s department shall ensure that respirators are cleaned and disinfected using the procedures in Appendix C of this section, or procedures recommended by the respirator manufacturer, provided that such procedures are of equivalent effectiveness.

Respirator cartridges shall be changed after 8 hours of use.

The respirators shall be cleaned and disinfected at the following intervals:

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;

Respirators maintained for emergency use shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use; and

Respirators used in fit testing and training shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

 The employee’s department shall ensure that respirators are stored as follows:

All respirators shall be stored to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals, and they shall be packed or stored to prevent deformation of the face piece and exhalation valve.



Training will be provided when the employee is issued a respirator and will consist 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, including situations in which the respirator malfunctions;

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 respirator


Where respirator use is not required;

An employee’s department may provide respirators at the request of employees or permit employees to use their own respirators, if the employee’s department determines that such respirator use will not in itself create a hazard. If the employee’s department determines that any voluntary respirator use is permissible, the employee’s department shall provide the respirator users with the information contained in Appendix D to this section ("Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard"); and

In addition, the employee’s department must establish and implement those elements of a written respiratory protection program necessary to ensure that any employee using a respirator voluntarily is medically able to use that respirator, and that the respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so that its use does not present a health hazard to the user. Exception:  A written respiratory protection program is not required for those employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering face pieces (dust masks).