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Respiratory Protection

  • OSHA requires that any employee who wears a respirator must be enrolled in a respiratory protection program. The program requires the following prior to using a respirator:

    1. Complete an exposure assessment of the work area and select the appropriate respirator; contact EHS for assistance.
    2. Have each employee that will wear a respirator complete a medical evaluation; the employee must complete the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire for evaluation by a healthcare professional. The cost of the physical is the responsibility of the employee's department.
    3. Have each employee fit tested and trained on their respirator.  Contact EHS to schedule an appointment; please have employees bring their respirator to the fit testing.

    The following is an excerpt from OSHA's Respiratory Protection eTool:

    When is respiratory protection necessary?

    Respiratory protection is necessary when an exposure assessment determines that employees are exposed to respiratory hazards in the workplace that cannot be controlled through engineering controls (e.g. exhaust via fume hoods or airflow).

    When is it necessary to conduct an exposure assessment?

    Conditions in which employees should wear respirators include the following:

    • When OSHA has a substance specific standard (e.g., lead, methylene chloride).
    • When employees notice symptoms (e.g., irritation, odor) or complain of respiratory health effects
    • When the workplace contains visible emissions (e.g., fumes, dust, aerosols).

    How do I determine how much chemical exposure exists in the workplace?

    Chemical exposure can be estimated by several methods:

    • Sampling - The most reliable approach for assessing how much and what type of respiratory protection is required in a given circumstance
    • Objective Information - Information and data that indicate that use or handling cannot release concentrations of a respiratory hazard above a level that would trigger the need for respirator use or require use of a more protective respirator.
    • Variation - This method accounts for potential variation by using exposure data collected with a strategy that recognizes exposure variability

    Respirator Chart

    Dust Masks APF:  10
    • Disposable masks
    • Worn over the nose and mouth to protect the wearer from nuisance dusts, mists, etc
    • Protection against particular contaminants (specified by the manufacturer)
    Half-Face Respirators APF:  10
    • Worn with interchangeable filter cartridges for protection against hazardous dusts, fumes, mists, etc. up to limited concentrations (specified by manufacturer). 
    • Operate under negative pressure
    • Requires fit testing and enrollment in the UMES Respiratory Protection Program
    Full-Face Respirators APF:  50
    • Operate under same principles and requirements as half-face type
    • Offers better facepiece fit
    • Protects wearer's eyes from particularly irritating gases or vapors
    Powered-Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)



    Hood or Helmet

    APF:  50

    APF:  50

    APF:  25

    • Operates under negative pressure inside the facepiece using a battery-operated motor blower assembly
    • Subject to manufacturer guidelines
    • Requires enrollment in the UMES Respiratory Protection Program
    Air-Line Respirator  

    Half-Face Demand

    Half-Mask Continuous

    Half-Mask Pressure Demand

    Full-Face Demand

    Full-Face Continuous Flow

    Full-Face Pressure Demand

    Hood or Helmet

    APF:  10

    APF:  50

    APF:  1000

    APF:  50

    APF:  50

    APF:  2000

    APF:  25

    • Supply clean air through a small diameter hose from a compressor or compressed air cylinders
    • Wearer is attached to a hose at all times
    • Subject to manufacturer’s guidelines
    • Requires enrollment in the UMES Respiratory Protection Program
    Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA):  


    Pressure Demand

    APF:  50

    APF:  10000

    • Supply clean air from a compressed air tank carried on the back of the wearer
    • Used primarily for emergency response or rescue work;
    • Air supply is limited to 20-60 minutes
    • Units must be thoroughly inspected on a monthly basis with written records
    • Operator training required
    • Subject to manufacturer's guidelines
    • Requires enrollment in the UMES Respiratory Protection Program