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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Safety: Respiratory Protection Program
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Respiratory Protection Program

for ______________________________

RL Approval and date

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Reviews Research Leader reviews respiratory program annually and approves below or makes changes as appropriate.
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_________________________ has been designated our laboratory's respirator coordinator. Persons desiring to use respirators should contact the Respirator Coordinator to become involved in the program.
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Scope Respiratory Protection shall be used at this location by all persons when exposed to respiratory hazards as a result of their work including ARS employees, students, post-docs, visiting professors, and University employees. The cost of the program is borne by the government. Voluntary use of dust/mist respirators is covered in Attachment D.
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References 29CFR 1910.134 Respiratory Protection
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Respiratory Protection Program Guide For Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators

Forward In the control of those occupational exposures caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fumes, sprays, mists, fogs, smokes, vapors, or gases, the primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (e.g., enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, use of hoods/dust collectors, and substitution of less toxic materials). When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted or evaluated, appropriate respirators shall be used pursuant to the following requirements. Respirators will be used as called for on pesticide labels.
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I. Program Administration
The person responsible for the administration of the respirator program at this laboratory is the Respirator Coordinator. The Respirator Coordinator has been delegated authority by the Research Leader to make decisions and to implement the respirator program in each management unit. The Respirator Coordinator has been charged with the following responsibilities:
A. Supervision of respirator selection procedure.
B. Training for employees about respiratory equipment.
C. Establishing and monitoring a continuing program of cleaning and inspection of respirators. (Each user cleans his/her own respirator)
D. Designation of proper storage areas for respirators
E. Maintaining and updating Respirator Hazard Analysis Form. Attachment B.
F. Establishing and maintaining a medical screening program/procedure for employees assigned to wear respiratory equipment. For ARS employees, medical screening shall be through OHMP program administered by the AO. UW employees shall be medically screened through UW Safety and follow their procedures.
G. Ensuring that for the employee’s health, facial hair that compromises the face seal of the respirator is not permitted. That is, "no beards."
H. Providing an annual summary of the respirator program to the Safety Committee. 
Any questions or problems concerning respirators or their use should be addressed to the Respirator Coordinator. The Respirator Coordinator may receive training and guidance from the Cluster Environmental Protection Specialist or Midwest Area Safety and Health Manager.


Respirator Program Requirement
Respirator protection shall be provided to all persons who, in performing their duties, can be expected to be:
A. Exposed to air contaminants in excess of the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) as defined in 29 CFR Section 1910.1000 Subpart Z of the OSHA Safety and Health Standards, or
B. Exposed to pesticides during spraying or early entry under the EPA Worker Protection Standard. Level of recommended PPE including minimal respirator protection is listed on the pesticide label. 


Health Screening
All personnel assigned to use tight-fitting respirators must be medically evaluated prior to fitting. The physician shall evaluate the employee for physiological and psychological conditions which are pertinent to the wearing of different types of respirators. The Respirator Coordinator, using the guidelines established by the physician, shall report to the user whether or not they may be assigned to a task requiring the use of a respirator. This determination will be reviewed annually. Attachment A, Questionnaire/ Medical Clearance for Respirator Use will be completed by employee prior to the medical evaluation with assistance from the Respirator Coordinator. The original of Attachment A will be retained in the employee's respirator file, with a copy being returned to the Respirator Coordinator. The medical provider should not put confidential medical information on the form. The decision for medical approval is YES or NO.


Respirator Selection
The only respirators allowed to be used by location employees are those that have current approval by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The selection of the proper type of respirator shall be based upon the following:
A. The nature of the hazardous operation or process.
B. The type of respiratory hazard.
C. The period of time for which respiratory protection must be provided.
D. The activities of workers in the hazardous area.
E. The physical characteristics, functional capabilities and limitations of various respirator types.
F. The respirator protection factors


Purchase of Respiratory Protection Equipment
The Respirator Coordinator should concur on purchases of respiratory equipment and supplies. Respirator Users shall complete the Respirator Use Hazard Analysis (Attachment B) to notify the Respirator Coordinator of all respirator users. Some products may be obtained at special prices through UW contracts.


Fitting Respirators
All Negative Pressure Respirators which are used in hazardous atmospheres are required to be fitted to the employee who will be using the respirator. Fitting and fit testing will be by one of the protocols called for in the OSHA Respirator Standard. A negative and positive pressure test will be conducted each and every time the respirator is put on.


Each respirator wearer shall be given training which shall include explanation and discussions of the following:
A. The need for respirator protection.
B. The nature, extent and effects of respiratory hazards.
C. Why engineering controls are not being applied.
D. Why a particular type of respirator has been selected.
E. An explanation of the operation, and the capabilities and limitations of the respirator selected.
F. Instructions on inspecting, donning, checking the fit and wearing the respirator.
G. An opportunity for each respirator wearer to handle, check seals, and wear the respirator.
H. Performing maintenance on and storage of respirators.


Maintenance and Repair
The program for the maintenance of respirators shall include the following:
A. Cleaning and Sanitizing: Each respirator shall be cleaned and sanitized to assure that the respirator wearer is provided with a clean and sanitized respirator at all times. Users are responsible for cleaning their own respirators. The standard operating procedures for cleaning of respirators are listed in Attachment C. Respirators used on a regular basis shall be cleaned at the end of the task or at the end of each work day. If respirators are shared, they must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
B. Inspection Prior to Use: In an effort to assure the reliability of the respirator protection, a series of inspections will be conducted. Immediately prior to each use, the user will inspect the respirator for:
1. An inhalation valve assembly.
2. An exhalation valve assembly.
3. An exhalation valve cover.
4. Distortion of face piece
5. Damage to the cartridge holder and sealing surface.
6. Damaged or dented cartridges.
C. Part Replacement and Repair: Replacement of parts or repairs shall be done only by persons trained in proper respirator assembly and correction of possible respirator malfunctions and defects. Replacement parts shall be only those designed for the specific respirator being repaired. (See Procedures for Cleaning & Sanitizing Respirators- Attachment C - for details.)
D. Storage: Respirators shall be stored in a manner that will protect them against dust, sunlight, heat, extreme cold, excessive moisture, or damaging chemicals. Respirators shall be stored to prevent distortion of rubber or other elastomeric parts. Respirators shall not be stored in such places as lockers and tool boxes unless they are protected from contamination, distortion, and damage.
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Attachment A


Employee Name
Social Security #
HAZARD REQUIRING PROTECTION (circle all that apply):
Pesticides   Organic solvent Vapors    Dusts   Spores   Pollen   Other
Cartridge    Air-Purifying (Non-Powered)    Air-Purifying (Powered)
Light     Moderate      Heavy     Strenuous
  1. On a daily basis
  2. Weekly
  3. Occasionally - but more than once a week
  4. Rarely - or for emergency situations only
SPECIAL WORK CONSIDERATIONS: (e.g., high places, temperatures, hazardous material, protective clothing, etc.)

Respirator Coordinator
Complete and send to employee's evaluating medical provider. Medical provider may request employee to complete medical history questionnaire.
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EMPLOYEE: __________________________
CLASS: (Circle 1)
    I. No restrictions on respirator use
   II. Some specific use restrictions
  III. No respirator use permitted

Examining Physician
Physician: Complete and return to employee who shares with Respirator Coordinator and is filed in Management Units Respirator Files.
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Attachment B


Respirator Program Manager Review

Lab________________ Person Completing Form_________________
P.I.________________ Respirator Program Manager Review________
OSHA Standard of PPM 29CRF1910.132(a) and OSHA Respirator Std. 29CRF1910.132(d) require management to conduct a hazard analysis or job safety analysis for the hazards encountered in the workplace. ARS has determined that a chemical is hazardous as determined by its MSDS or other reputable source of knowledge (OSHA, AIHA, ACGIH, Chemistry text, NIOSH, etc.). Therefore, if in doubt about a given chemical or hazard, consult your MSDS. For most laboratory uses of chemicals, respirators are not required. Consult your Chemical Hygiene Plan for control strategies. For pesticide handling including mixing, spraying, and early entry, consult the WPS requirement on the pesticide label. Please complete the form for all respirators used in your lab, including negative reports, file with Chemical Hygiene Plan, and forward a copy to your respirator program manager for review.
V = Voluntary
R = Required
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Attachment C

OSHA Appendix B-2 to 1910.134: Respirator Cleaning Procedures (Mandatory)

These procedures are provided for employer use when cleaning respirators. They are general in nature, and the employer as an alternative may use the cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer of the respirators used by their employees, provided such procedures are as effective as those listed here in Appendix B-2. Equivalent effectiveness simply means that the procedures used must accomplish the objectives set forth in Appendix B-2, i.e., must ensure that the respirator is properly cleaned and disinfected in a manner that prevents damage to the respirator and does not cause harm to the user.
I. Procedures for Cleaning Respirators
A. Remove filters, cartridges, or canisters. Disassemble facepieces by removing speaking diaphragms, demand and pressure- demand valve assemblies, hoses, or any components recommended by the manufacturer. Discard or repair any defective parts.
B. Wash components in warm (43° C [110° F] maximum) water with a mild detergent or with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. A stiff bristle (not wire) brush may be used to facilitate the removal of dirt.
C. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43° C [110° F] maximum), preferably running water. Drain.
D. When the cleaner used does not contain a disinfecting agent, respirator components should be immersed for two minutes in one of the following:
1. Hypochlorite solution (50 ppm of chlorine) made by adding approximately one milliliter of laundry bleach to one liter of water at 43 deg. C (110° F); or,
2. Aqueous solution of iodine (50 ppm iodine) made by adding approximately 0.8 milliliters of tincture of iodine (6-8 grams ammonium and/or potassium iodide/100 cc of 45% alcohol) to one liter of water at 43° C (110° F); or,
3. Other commercially available cleansers of equivalent disinfectant quality when used as directed, if their use is recommended or approved by the respirator manufacturer.
E. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43° C [110° F] maximum), preferably running water. Drain. The importance of thorough rinsing cannot be overemphasized. Detergents or disinfectants that dry on facepieces may result in dermatitis. In addition, some disinfectants may cause deterioration of rubber or corrosion of metal parts if not completely removed.
F. Components should be hand-dried with a clean lint-free cloth or air-dried.
G. Reassemble facepiece, replacing filters, cartridges, and canisters where necessary.
H. Test the respirator to ensure that all components work properly.
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Attachment D


A. Applicability
Certain situations require the use of appropriate respirators. If a respirator is not specifically required, it may still be used in what is termed a "voluntary" fashion. Dust mist respirators, often called disposable respirators, may be used "voluntarily," provided that management has determined that no "significant hazard" exists. A "significant hazard" is defined to mean that either of the following conditions exists:
1. Oxygen level below 19.5%, or
2. Uncontrolled air contaminant exposure exceeding a short term exposure limit (STEL) or long term exposure limit (usually 8 hours) established by ACGIH, NIOSH, or OSHA. This information may be found on MSDS.
B. Written Program
Although the OSHA Std. 29CFR 1910.134, part c2i waives a written program for voluntary use, the following guidelines should be followed by ARS personnel:
1. Management (Supervisor) will determine what level and type of respiratory protection is needed based on a hazard analysis (Attachment B). The Respirator Coordinator and CEPS will review this decision. It is critical that management not put students or employees at risk. If in doubt about the hazard, contact your Respirator Coordinator, CEPS, or University of Wisconsin Industrial Hygienist (262-8769).
2. Once it is determined that some minimal level of respiratory protection is desirable, selection may be made from a variety of disposable styles. Two strap respirators with an adjustable nosepiece offer the best protection within this class of respirators.
3. No medical monitoring is required, but management should warn the user that this respirator has limitations and only provides protection against nuisance dusts/mists/aerosols.
4. No fit test is required.
5. Facial hair may be worn, but facial hair greatly reduces the effectiveness of this class of respirators.
6. Training consists of explaining why the respirator may be worn, how to put it on, and how to get the best fit.
7. Disposable respirators should not be interchanged. Often, they are disposed of after a single use. If used for a very short term where the use is primarily precautionary such as weighing out a powder, it is OK to label the respirator with your name and reuse it a limited number of times until it becomes clogged and there is increased breathing resistance. Also, throw away disposable respirators when they become dirty.
8. Dust/mist respirator users shall be required to read the OSHA Appendix D and complete a waiver statement (Attached E).
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Attachment E


I, ____________________________, am requesting to use the

following dust/mist respirator (_________________________)

for the following tasks (______________________________).

I understand the hazard to myself is minimal, and I should be able to complete the task without a respirator, if necessary.

I have read 29CFR1910.134 (1998) (Appendix D) (below).

Questions on respirator use can be answered by my supervisor or the Management Unit Respirator Coordinator or UW Industrial Hygienist.

____________________________ (Respirator User)

____________________________ (Immediate Supervisor)

____________________________ (Review by Respirator Coordinator)

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Appendix D to Sec. 1910.134 (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard

Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. Respirator use is encouraged, even when exposures are below the exposure limit, to provide an additional level of comfort and protection for workers. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards. If your employer provides respirators for your voluntary use, of if you provide your own respirator, you need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard.
You should do the following:
1. Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else's respirator.
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Last Modified: 3/12/2010
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