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Compliance Guidance for Respiratory Protection 29 CFR 1910.134
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Bonnie DiSalvo, NAA Safety and Health Officer


New Respiratory Protection Program, 1998


June 4, 1998

This interpretive guidance is to be used in conjunction with the location specific Respiratory Protection Plans which are currently undergoing update for applicable locations. The written program, and its requirements, must be completed by October 1998.

The servicing Safety Officer or Environmental Protection Specialist will be familiar with these plan requirements and should be your first point of contact. Members of our staff will perform or assist in the performance of fit testing, training and industrial hygiene assessment.

To reduce costs and waste, I have ask that each location download the new Respirator Protection Standard from the OSHA Website ( If you do not have Internet access, please contact my office to receive a copy.


Compliance Guidance for Respiratory Protection 29 CFR 1910.134

On January 8, 1998, OSHA published the revised respiratory protection standard as a Final Rule. The Federal Register citation is 63:1152-1300. The revised rule is referenced as 29 CFR 1910.134. Note that this CFR citation is the same as the previous respiratory protection standard, so it will be important to check the date of any publications to be sure that it contains the new revision. The revision replaces 1926.103 which was adopted in 1971. The regulation 1910.134 applies to general industry, construction, shipyards, and longshoring and marine terminal workplaces.

The previous respiratory protection standard will be moved to 29 CFR 1910.139 on 4/8/98. NAA locations will comply with the new standard before or by its effective date, October 5, 1998.


Almost all of the requirements for respiratory protection found throughout the OSHA standards have been consolidated into this one revised standard. The revised standard updates, clarifies and enhances requirements for employee protection against respiratory hazards. The revised standard retains the basic features of the original, but adds to its requirements for a written respirator program, respirator selection and use, medical evaluation, fit testing, breathing air quality, respirator use in immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) atmospheres, maintenance and storage, training, program evaluation and recordkeeping.



(basically unchanged from the original)

(a)(1) Engineering controls

This section highlights the responsibility of the employer to prevent or reduce air contamination in the workplace. The employer must investigate engineering controls, such as enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials to accomplish this objective, to the extent feasible. Only when engineering controls have been determined to be not feasible, not fully effective or are being installed may respirators be assigned to control exposure. Note that even if engineering controls are not fully effective in reducing contaminant levels to within an acceptable range, they must be implemented, if feasible, to reduce exposure levels as far as feasible and only then may respirators be used. Respirators are to be considered the control of last choice. This requirement is virtually identical to the original requirement.

(a)(2) Provision of respirators

The employer must provide the appropriate respirator to affected employees without charge and must comply with the respiratory protection program requirements. Note that the employer provision of a respirator is required in order to protect employee health, and not only to reduce exposure to contaminant levels to within regulated limits. If the employer has information that regulated contaminant limits are not sufficiently protective of employee health and that engineering controls are not feasible to reduce exposure to a safe level, then the employer must provide an appropriate respirator to the employee.

The employer is not required to provide a respirator when contaminant exposure is within regulated limits and the employer has no evidence that the exposure levels in the workplace would cause harm to health. This is a gray area and employers should make a reasonable effort to discover if there may be harmful effects associated with exposures below the regulated limits. Professional judgment must be exercised.

Most of the OSHA air contaminant limits are based on recommendation made over 30 years ago, and more recent studies frequently identify the health need for more protection. In addition, the OSHA PELS cover fewer than 500 substances, and consequently, exposures to many hazardous substances are not even regulated with any numerical exposure limits. For the purposes of this standard, it does not matter if the employer requires the respirator in order to comply with an OSHA PEL or if the employer requires it for health protection purposes. In either event, the respirator is required and the entire standard applies.

This requirement is the same as the original standard. OSHA noted in the Preamble to the standard that it has cited this paragraph 99 times in the past 5 years, including cases where an employer failed to provide adequate respiratory protection against airborne contaminants that had no PEL. In one case described by OSHA in the Preamble to this standard, an employee contracted a potentially fatal disease caused by inhalation of grain dust contaminated with Histoplasma capsulatum spores. Paragraph (a) (2) was cited and upheld by the OSHA Review Commission, even though OSHA does not have PELs for grain dust or H. capsulatum spores.

We must make reasonable efforts to determine if air contaminants in their workplaces may cause health harm. If so, then they must determine if engineering controls are feasible to prevent or reduce the contamination to acceptable levels and provide appropriate respiratory protection to employees if the engineering controls are not adequate.

If OSHA compliance officers observe employees improperly using respirators, the employer may be cited.


(new section added in this revision)

The original standard did not contain definitions. The revised standard now contains 33 definitions. Most of the definitions match the ANSI definitions found in ANSI Z 88.2-1992, Respiratory Protection, but their inclusion provides a concrete underpinning for the rest of the standard.

One of the most important definitions is that provided for a filtering facepiece (dust mask), which clarifies that this is a type of negative pressure particulate respirator and accordingly, the requirements of this standard apply to these devices. Previously, many employers erroneously assumed that dust masks were not included in the respiratory protection standard.

The definition of employee exposure as "exposure to a concentration of an airborne contaminant that would occur if the employee were not using respiratory protection," clarifies the use of this phrase throughout the standard. This definition is consistent with that used in other OSHA standards.

The definition of high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter ties that term to the NIOSH N100, R100 and P100 particulate filters found in 42 CFR 84.

Since there are several definitions of the phrase, "immediately dangerous to life or health" (IDLH), it is useful to have a single definition provided here. Note that it includes not only the immediate threat to life or irreversible adverse health effects, but also impairment of the ability to escape, such as unconsciousness or blindness. The development of adverse health effects does not have to be immediate, but may be delayed for several hours, or even days or weeks. This definition does not include atmospheres where long-term exposure causes severe health effects, such as cancer; rather, this definition addresses a short-term or single exposure to an atmosphere that would be capable of causing serious effects.

Since the standard contains specific requirements for IDLH situations, the definition of this phrase is vital. Also, OSHA has not published a list of IDLH values. The employer, therefore, must determine if any workplace atmospheres are, or potentially are, IDLH. The 1994 NIOSH "Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards" and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, "Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPS)" are recognized sources for IDLH values for a wide selection of chemicals, but for chemicals that are not listed, employers must determine the IDLH value, using their own knowledge and experience.

Oxygen-deficient atmosphere is defined with the familiar 19.5 percent oxygen content criterion. The ANSI Z88.2 Respiratory Protection Standard uses a different criterion, so this OSHA definition is important for compliance purposes. Paragraph (d) (2) (iii) requires employers to consider all oxygen deficient atmospheres to be immediately dangerous to life and health, requiring the most protective respirators.

The definition of physician or other licensed health care professional is integral to the medical evaluation requirement of paragraph (e). It defines who is allowed to provide the initial medical evaluation and any follow-up medical examinations and to make the medical determination of the employee's ability to use a respirator.

Notable by their absence are definitions for assigned protection factor and maximum use concentration. The standard indicates that these are reserved and will be added later. The assigned protection factor is a numerical rating of the protectiveness of a respirator that represents the minimum anticipated ratio between the contaminant concentration outside the respirator and the concentration inside. This factor is assigned to various classes of respirators to enable the proper selection of respirators. The higher the value, the more protective the respirator is.

For example, an assigned protection factor of 10 means that the respirator should reduce the airborne concentration of a particulate by a factor of 10 (or to 10 percent of the workplace concentration). A respirator with an assigned protection factor of 50 would be five times more protective than a respirator with a factor of 10. Until these values are promulgated in a new rulemaking, the assigned protection factors found in various OSHA substance-specific health standards, such as those for asbestos, lead or cadmium, will continue to apply to those substances.

In a similar vein, the maximum use concentration relates to the protectiveness of the respirator. The maximum use concentration is a mathematical product of the values for the permissible exposure limit and the assigned protection factor. For example, for benzene (PEL = 1 ppm), the maximum use concentration for a respirator with an assigned protection factor of fifty is 50 ppm (1 ppm x 50 = 50 ppm). This means that the highest benzene air contaminant level against which this respirator can be safely used is 50 ppm.

Until OSHA defines assigned protection factor and maximum use concentration, employers should continue to seek out the best available information to make their own determinations. This is no different from what has been required under the original standard. In the Preamble to the revised standard (63 CFR 1163), OSHA recommends reliance on the NIOSH assigned protection factors, although this is not required. OSHA will continue to study both the NIOSH and the ANSI assigned protection factors, as well as others, and will develop its own set of values in a future rulemaking. Until that rulemaking takes place, employers should use published values, such as the NIOSH "Guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection," 87-116 (PB 88-188-347) and the American National Standards Institute, "Respiratory Protection," Z88.2-1992.


OSHA has significantly revised the respiratory protection program requirements, making them more specific and more detailed. In making these changes, however, OSHA has preserved existing requirements in substance-specific standards, such as asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, etc. and employers who comply with those respirator program requirements should have little need to modify their existing programs. Among the major changes are the requirements for worksite-specific written procedures, voluntary or non-required use of respirators, a suitably trained respirator program administrator, and employer provision of respirators, training and medical evaluations at no cost to the employee. OSHA plans to release a compliance guide that will describe the criteria for the selection of the administrator and contain a sample respiratory protection program in April, 1998.

(c)(1) Written program

The written respiratory program has been a cornerstone of the original respirator standard and it has been retained and refined in the revised standard. Previously, the employer could develop and implement a rather generic program to cover all of its worksites. The revised standard requires a worksite-specific program that describes the particular respirator selection process and how employees are to use the respirators. Specific program elements are described in the revised standard, but the program is still performance based to enable employers to tailor their programs to their unique situations. A new requirement is that the employer must update the program, as necessary, to reflect changes in the workplace that affect respirator usage.

The specific written respiratory protection program elements are briefly described below:

(c)(1) (I) Respirator selection

The employer must describe how respirators are to be selected for use in the workplace, in accordance with paragraph (d). The section should describe the atmospheric hazards present in the workplace and the types of respirators that are to be worn. It would be appropriate to describe the air monitoring program and other means used by the employer to identify and estimate the air contaminants to which employees may be exposed, including exposures under emergency conditions. It would also be expected that the program would identify the specific respirator manufacturers and models to be used.

(c)(1) (ii) Medical evaluations

This provision requires a description of the employers's medical evaluation program. The program should describe how the employer implements the medical evaluation requirements of paragraph (e), as well as any additional requirements the employer has.

(c)(1) (iii) Fit testing

The program must describe the fit testing protocols used for tight-fitting respirators to ensure that each employee has a properly fitted respirator. The program should demonstrate compliance with paragraph (f).

(c)(1) (iv) Respirator use

Proper use procedures should address both normal operating conditions and reasonably foreseeable upset or emergency conditions, as described in paragraph (g).

(c)(1) (v) Respirator maintenance

The procedures and schedules for respirator cleansing, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, discarding, and otherwise maintaining the respirators is required, in conformance with paragraph (h).

(c)(1) (vi) Air supply

The procedures to ensure adequate air supplies for supplied air respirators must be described. These procedures should describe how the employer's program complies with paragraph (I).

(c)(1) (vii) Hazards training

The employer's training program to inform employees of the respiratory hazards to which they are, or potentially are, exposed should reference the employer's Hazard Communication training or Chemical Hygiene Plan. In addition, it should cover, as appropriate, hazards associated with exposure to radioactive particles and biological hazards, such as pathogens or allergens.

(c)(1) (viii) Respirator Training

The employer's training program should be described, including the topics covered in either classroom or on-the-job training. Both initial and annual training should be described in conformance with paragraph (k). The program should describe how the employer evaluates the employees' comprehension and retention of the information provided and how previously provided training is evaluated. A detailed course description or checklist of training topics should be included in the written program. For employees who are not required to wear a respirator, but who may choose to do so, the training program must describe the minimum required training, including the provision of Appendix D of the standard to those employees.

Appendix D is at end of document.

(c)(1) (ix) Program evaluation

The program is to include the procedures that the employer uses to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the respiratory protection program, as required under paragraph (1).

(c)(2) Voluntary use of respirators

Voluntary, or non-required, use of respirators was not addressed in the original respiratory protection standard, but is added in the revised standard. Paragraph ? (2) clarifies requirements when respirators are used, but not required by OSHA. An example of this situation is when workplace atmosphere is within OSHA air contaminants limits, but the employee chooses to wear a respirator for additional protection or comfort. This situation contrasts with the situation in which the employer requires the use of a respirator, even though contaminants are within OSHA limits.

When the employer requires the use of a respirator, all respiratory protection program elements of paragraph (c)(1) apply. These requirements are slightly relaxed when the employee voluntarily chooses to wear a respirator, where such use is not required by OSHA or the employer. Such circumstances typically include use of a dust mask when performing occasional dusty tasks, such as sweeping, or outdoors work, such as mowing, during allergy season.

Even under voluntary use circumstances, respirators use could pose a health hazard to the employee. Examples of potential voluntary use hazards include medical conditions that could be worsened by wearing a respirator or exposure to contaminants or skin irritants caused by improper cleaning, storage, or disinfection. The revised respiratory protection standard addresses the three steps that the employer must take to prevent health hazards. These steps are a minimal training program to consist of providing Appendix D to the employee; medical evaluation of fitness to wear a respirator; and a program to ensure proper cleaning, storage, and maintenance of the respirator.

ARS treats voluntary respirator use the same as required respirator use for dusk masks only. In all other user cases, medical clearance and fit testing is still required.

If only respirators that are voluntarily worn are filtering facepieces (dust masks), the only required step is provision of Appendix D to employees who choose to wear dust masks. There are no medical limitations on the use of filtering facepiece respirators when worn in a voluntary situation where respiratory hazards do not exist. ( appendix D is at the end of this document)

(c)(3) Program administrator

Assignment of a qualified respiratory protection administrator by each affected employer is a new requirement, although it has been widely practiced and was recommended by ANSI in Z88.2-1992. One person is to be assigned overall responsibility for the management and administration of the employer's program to ensure integrity of the program. The location shall assign a point of contact that coordinates with the Area Safety Office.

(c)(4) No cost provision

The requirement in paragraph (c)(4) to provide the required respirators and the training and medical evaluations at no cost to the employee clarifies OSHA's intent. "At no cost to the employee" has historically been interpreted by OSHA to mean on company time and with company-paid travel, if necessary.


The revised standard provides updated and detailed requirements for respirator selection. It explicitly states that employers must evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace to include a reasonable estimate of employee exposures to these hazards. Reasonable estimation is not defined; professional judgment is required. Air monitoring is not absolutely required if the employer has a basis for estimating exposures, such as historical data or data from comparable operations or calculations. Maximum or worst-case release scenarios obtained from laboratory studies or industry-wide surveys may be sufficient to show that harmful concentrations cannot occur. Air monitoring, and in particular, personal exposure monitoring, is a good practice that is recommended to identify or confirm exposures. If the atmosphere cannot be reasonably characterized, it must be considered to be IDLH. Since the requirements for work in IDLH atmospheres are stringent, it may be cost characterize these exposures.

Monitoring to determine which operations, tasks, work practices and locations pose actual or potential respiratory hazards is a basic measure before the employer can accurately determine if this standard even applies. Monitoring should consider not only normal operating conditions, but also upsets, start-ups, maintenance and other conditions and factors that may increase or decrease employee exposure to harmful levels of airborne contaminants. If monitoring is performed, the employer should be sure it is conducted according to good practice standards by experienced and knowledgeable individuals and that analysis of the samples collected is performed by a competent laboratory that follows rigorous quality assurance procedures.

Certified industrial hygienists (CIHs) have passed rigorous educational and competency requirements in recognizing, evaluating and controlling respiratory hazards and can provide this service for employers, either as in-house resources or as outside consultants. Other professionals may also be competent; however, the employer should take steps to verify their competence and obtain references before entrusting them with this assignment.

(d)(1) General selection criteria

Respirator selection is explicitly based on the respiratory hazards to which employees are exposed and on factors that affect respirator performance and reliability. Examples of such factors include:



Worker mobility

Service life of the respirator


Movement of machinery

The employer must evaluate the whole environment to select a respirator that protects against the airborne hazards, and will continue to provide that protection despite workplace or use factors that could degrade the performance or cause additional stresses on the employee.

For example, a respirator required to protect against particulates must be able to resist degradation of its performance if oil mists are present. In this situation, the employer would have to evaluate the performance of R or P type filters and not select an N type filter which would degrade in the presence of oil mists. To help reduce heat stress in a warm, dusty environment, the employer should evaluate powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) when a negative pressure respirator would otherwise be adequate.

All required respirators must be NIOSH-certified and used in compliance with their conditions of certification. Every certified respirator is readily identified by the NIOSH certification number affixed to the unit and to replacement cartridges, when applicable. There are no exceptions to the certification requirement. If the employer has a highly specialized situation or modifies a respirator, the employer must secure certification through the NIOSH testing program or apply for an OSHA variance.

A common mistake, and one that immediately voids the NIOSH certification, is substituting respirator components, such as cartridges, valves, gaskets, etc.with parts made by another manufacturer or not listed on the certification document. The certification document lists the make and model number of every component in the certified respirator. Because substituted parts have not been tested in the respirator, they may affect the performance.

It is never permissible to mix respirator components. When selecting respirators for purchase, employers should carefully evaluate the service, availability and costs of replacing parts. This is particularly true with air purifying respirators, because the filters and cartridges must be replaced frequently.

Another concern is conditions of use approved by NIOSH. NIOSH limits the uses of the respirators it certifies and these limitations must be observed. Examples include maximum concentrations of specified substances and prohibitions on the use with certain substances. Tight-fitting respirators are certified with the limitation that they are worn with no obstructions between the respirator and the employees's face and head. There must be no head coverings worn under the facepiece harness of tight-fitting respirators, and eyeglass frames must not protrude through the face-to-facepiece seal.

OSHA later makes it clear in paragraph (f) that each employee must pass a fit test, so an assortment of respirators must be sufficient to accommodate the various shapes and sizes in the workforce.

(d)(2) IDLH respirators

(Note: No ARS employees shall enter IDLH atmospheres.

Whenever respirators must be worn in an IDLH atmosphere, special requirements apply in order to protect employees whose only barrier against lethal or irreversibly harmful exposures is a respirator. The highest level of care is required, including the most protective respirator, which is a full face positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with a minimum 30-minute rated service life or a combination full facepiece pressure demand supplied-air respirator with auxiliary self-contained air supply. The combination respirator must be certified as such by NIOSH.

NIOSH-certified escape respirators may be used for escape from IDLH atmospheres, but must never be used for entry or work in IDLH atmospheres.

This paragraph also specifies that atmospheres that contain less than 19.5 percent oxygen are IDLH. There are exceptions for work at altitudes below 8,000 feet, as listed in Table II. Air supplying respirators may be used for oxygen concentrations between 16.0 and 19.5 percent for altitudes below 8,000 feet, in accordance with this table, if the employer is able to determine that the atmosphere is well-controlled and oxygen levels cannot fall below this range. This requirement is more protective than the ANSI Z88.2 standard.

(d)(3) Non-IDLH atmospheres

For non-IDLH atmospheres, the employer must select the respirator based on health protection, regulatory compliance, assigned protection factors and maximum use concentrations. As discussed above, in the section about the definitions in this revised standard, OSHA has not listed assigned protection factors and maximum use concentrations. OSHA recommends the NIOSH or ANSI values until it promulgates its own.

The assigned respirator must be appropriate for the chemical state and physical form of the contaminants. In order to comply with this, the employer must know if the contaminant is a particulate or if it is a gas or vapor or both particle and vapor or gas. If it is a particulate, knowledge of particle size range will enable selection of the appropriate filter (95, 99, or 100) without the costs of overprotection.

For protection against gases and vapors, the employer may select an air-purifying or atmosphere-supplying respirator. A new requirement is that air-purifying cartridges must either have a NIOSH-certified end-of-service-life indicator or the employer must implement a change schedule for canisters and cartridges. It is ARS policy to strictly adhere to manufacturer's recommendations for canister change-out. The schedule must be described in the employer's written program, along with information on the basis for that schedule. Previously, OSHA allowed cartridge changes based solely on odor or taste perception by the wearer, but it is now recognized that sensory perception may not be an adequate indicator of breakthrough.

For protection against particulates, the revised standard allows selection of an atmosphere-supplying respirator or air purifying respirator with a NIOSH-certified HEPA or 100 filter. If particulates are at least 2 microns in mass median aerodynamic diameter, any NIOSH-certified filter, including types 95 and 99, is allowed.


Since the use of a respirator may place a physiological burden on the employee that could adversely affect health, the revised respiratory protection standard clearly spells out a medical evaluation requirement for the purpose of ensuring that employees who wear respirators can tolerate respirator use. Continue to use the ARS Occupational Health Maintenance Program (OHMP) and Respirator Clearance Forms.

(e)(1) General

The employee medical evaluation must be offered to every employee who is required to wear a respirator or who requests to wear one (except for filtering facepieces worn voluntarily). It must be provided prior to fit testing and any use of a respirator and annually thereafter, for as long as the employee wears a respirator. ARS policy requires that any employee who wears a respirator will receive a medical exam.


(e)(2) Medical evaluation procedures

Every employer who has employees who wear a respirator will have to select a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform initial and annual medical evaluations of employees. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, occupational health nurse or registered nurses are examples of other licensed health care practioners who may evaluate employee ability to use a respirator, provided that the PLHCP is authorized to do so under a license issued by the state in which they practice. Occupational physicians are the most highly trained professionals to conduct these evaluations and are required to do so under the ARS Occupational Health Maintenance Program (OHMP).

The respirator medical evaluation questionnaire must be administered during the employee's normal working hours and it must be administered confidentially. In order to preserve confidentiality, the employer or supervisor is not allowed to look at or review employee answers. The employer must establish a method to ensure the delivery of the completed questionnaire to the physician or other licensed health care professional selected by the employer. In many cases, the PLHCP will require a personal interview to complete the questionnaire, based on their professional judgment.

(e)(3) Follow-up medical examination


(e)(4) Administration of the medical questionnaire and examinations

The questionnaire should be explained to the employee and offered in a private area during normal working hours. If the employee does not read English, the questionnaire may need to be administered by a health care professional or interpreted for the employee. The employee must be provided an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire with the PLHCP.

(e)(5) Supplemental information to the PLHCP

This paragraph specifies information that the employer must supply to the PLHCP. In addition, the PLHCP will be better informed about workplace conditions if a personal visit can be arranged. In the long run, this extra step enhances communications and improves the delivery of medical services.

(e)(6) Medical determination

The PLHCP must provide the employer with a written recommendation concerning the employee's ability to use a respirator. Without disclosing any confidential medical information, the PLHCP must also recommend any limitations on that employee's use of a respirator. The employee must be provided a copy of any written communications to the employer from the PLHCP regarding the employee's use of a respirator.

In a significant change from the original respiratory standard that recommended and annual reevaluation of fitness be performed, the revised standard directs the PLHCP to determine the reevaluation frequency. The Occupational Health Maintenance Program (OHMP) provider shall be directed to determine the reevaluation frequency on a case-by-case basis.

A new requirement is that employers must make a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) available to employees if the PLHCP determines that those employees cannot safely wear a negative pressure respirator, but that they can wear a powered respirator. This provision allows many employees to continue in their jobs, since a medical recommendation that they be restricted from wearing a negative pressure respirator might otherwise result in dismissal or re-assignment to a lower-paying position. Now, they must be provided a PAPR and accordingly, are able to continue in their job function.

(e)(7) Additional medical evaluation

Additional medical evaluations must be provided if the employee develops any medical signs or symptoms related to the ability to use a respirator or if a PLHCP, supervisor or respirator administrator informs the employer that the employee needs to be reevaluate. Reevaluation is also required if fit testing or other program evaluation activities indicate a need for reevaluation.


The revised standard puts some teeth into the original standard by specifying what is considered an adequate test of a respirator's fit. It also specifies that a fit test must be administered and that it must be passed by the employee before any required use of a tight-fitting respirator is allowed. At the same time, it relaxes slightly some of the substance-specific fit testing requirements found in subpart Z, such as asbestos, lead and cadmium. Very significantly, it recognizes new technologies for administering fit tests and provides criteria for evaluating new technologies in the future.

The fit test is a very specific measurement of the face-to-facepiece seal. It must be tested using the same make, model, style, and size as that which will be worn on the job. It is not necessary to conduct the fit test using the actual respirator assigned to the employee, rather, it may be an exact copy. Respirators are manufactured to demanding specifications and should be identical within a specific make, model, style and size, Whenever a different make, model, style or size respirator is to be worn, it must also be fit tested prior to use. Fit testing is specific, and any change in the respirator facepiece requires a new fit test.

The fit testing is an annual requirement under the revised standard. This annual requirement also applies to OSHA substance-specific standards that previously had a six-month re-testing requirement, such as asbestos and lead. An additional fit test is required whenever the employee reports or the employer PLHCP, supervisor or administrator observes changes that could affect the employee's respirator fit, such as new dentures, facial scarring, cosmetic surgery or weight changes.

This requirement is important to ensure that a respirator continues to protect the employee, despite any physiological changes that could affect the seal. In addition, if the employee, after passing a fit test, determines that the fit is unacceptable, that employee must be provided a reasonable opportunity to be fit tested on a different make, model, style or size respirator.

Fit testing protocols must comply with the requirements contained in Appendix A of the revised standard. You can go to the web page at OSHA to retrieve a copy, or see Appendix A at the end of this document. This Appendix replaces fit test protocols previously found in individual substance-specific health standards in Subpart Z. The key elements include provision of a variety of respirator facepieces for the employee to select from. No longer does OSHA specify the size or variety of this selection, as it did in substance-specific fit test protocols. Rather the determination of an adequate variety is left up to the professional judgment of the employer's administrator. Detailed pretest procedures are provided to ensure that the employee is familiar with the make and model selected before the fit test begins.

Four different qualitative fit tests (QLFT) are described: isoamyl acetate, saccharin, Bitrex and irritant smoke. The Bitrex test is a new one; the others are retained from Subpart Z standards. Retention of the irritant smoke test, which is the least expensive to administer and does not rely on voluntary subject reporting, continues to be allowed, with requirements for adequate operator training.

Quantative fit test (QNFT) protocols include generated aerosols (using corn oil, polyethylene glygol 400, di-2-ethyl hexyl sebacate or sodium chloride), ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (i.e. Portacount trademark), and controlled negative pressure (i.e. Dynatech Nevada FitTester 3000 trademark). The latter two are new to OSHA respirator standards and there is also provision for new fit test protocols. A regime of eight exercises is included for each test. A welcome change in the QNFT protocols is that replicate consecutive tests are no longer required to calculate the fit factor. One test is sufficient, provided it meets all of the requirements listed in the protocol.

OSHA limits the application of the QLFT to respirators where a fit factor of 100 or less is required. The QLFT is not as accurate or sensitive as the QNFT and accordingly, its use is limited. In practice, use of the QLFT limits the assigned protection factor to 10. "Passing scores" for the QNFT are a fit factor of at least 100 for tight-fitting half facepieces and 500 for tight-fitting full facepieces. In all cases, OSHA is applying a safety factor of 10 to the fit test factors to account for in-use variability.

Fit testing tight-fitting atmosphere-supplying powered air-purifying respirators is addressed for the first time. This revised standard makes it clear that these respirators must be fit tested and describes how they must be tested in a negative pressure mode. OSHA noted that research had demonstrated that positive pressure facepieces may have a negative pressure during inhalation if the air flow is not adequate to meet the wearer's demand.

Since these types of respirators are working in more hazardous atmospheres, the consequences to a facepiece seal leak can be very serious. Any modifications made for the purpose of administering a fit test must be completely removed and the unit restored to its original NIOSH-certified configuration before the respirator can then be used in the workplace. Many manufacturers sell QNFT adapters to allow facepiece testing. Fit testing may be provided by outside contractors or by in-house personnel after appropriate training. Commercial fit test instruments are widely available. In summary, the frequency for respirator fit testing will change to once a year for all regulated air contaminants. Simple records of fit testing shall be maintained for all employees.


Under this paragraph, employers must establish and implement procedures and prohibitions regarding the proper use of respirators. These procedures must address prevention of respirator seal leakage, removal of respirators in hazardous atmospheres, actions to ensure continued respirator effectiveness, and use of respirators in IDLH atmospheres and in interior structural firefighting.

(g)(1) Facepiece seal protection

Each tight-fitting respirator wearer must have no facial hair between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face and no hair that interferes with valve function. Facial hair includes stubble because research has shown it interferes with the seal. Some employees may be offered helmet or loose-fitting hooded styles, at the employer's option.

Corrective lenses must not interfere with the tight-fitting facepiece seal. In a departure from the prohibition in the original standard, OSHA now permits the use of contact lenses with respirators.

Employees are to perform a user seal check each time they don a tight-fitting respirator following procedures provided in Appendix B (end of document) or provided by the respirator manufacturer. This procedure is important because respirators are not put on the same way each time and these simple tests help the user evaluate if the respirator is properly seated on the face and properly tightened. Respirators that cannot be user seal checked are not considered acceptable for use by OSHA.

Dust masks may have inadequate manufacturer user seal check procedures. Because they cannot be tested by the procedures described in Appendix B-1, the dust mask manufacturer must determine if its own user seal check procedure is as effective as the Appendix B-1 procedure. Employers should obtain written user seal check procedures from their dust mask manufacturers and ask if these procedures are as effective as the OSHA procedures. Usually, this information is voluntarily provided by reputable distributors. If the manufacturer cannot provide this written assurance of user seal check equivalence, that respirator must not be used in any situation where a respirator is required. Dust masks may continue to be used in voluntary use situations.

Employers are expected to enforce these requirements in their workplaces. Although the employer cannot oversee each respirator donning event, the employer must establish, implement and enforce the requirement to perform a user seal check procedure each time an employee puts on a respirator and monitor compliance with this requirement. For example, if an OSHA inspector observes an individual employee putting on a respirator without performing a user seal check, that inspector will most probably demand evidence that the employer has provided the necessary employee training and that the employer has conscientiously implemented and evaluated its respiratory program, including documentation that user seal procedures are evaluated and corrected when deficiencies occur. With this in mind, CDSOs, Safety professionals and supervisors will act accordingly and retrain the individual.

(g)(2) Continuing respirator effectiveness

A high degree of accountability is demanded of each employer to ensure the success of its respiratory protection program. This paragraph requires appropriate surveillance of work area conditions and employee exposures. Changes in conditions will require a reevaluation of the program. Among procedures to be monitored are employee behavior when eye or skin irritation occurs or respirator breakthrough is detected.

When problems of this sort develop, employees are to leave the hazardous atmosphere before correcting the problem. The employer is responsible for replacing or repairing any respirator that is not performing as specified.

Defective respirators must not be used in a hazardous atmosphere. The standard does not prescribe any replacement schedules for respirators or their components. It is up to the employer to determine how often they must be replaced, with the performance-based requirement that the respirator function properly. NIOSH-approved disposable respirators may be reused by the same user, so long as they are clean and still suitable for their purpose.

(g)(3) Procedures for IDLH atmospheres

This paragraph sets specific requirements for standby personnel when an employee is located in an IDLH atmosphere. The original standard also contained provisions for backup personnel, but this revision expands and clarifies their duties. A major change is that one standby person is now required, where the original standard required two or more. Additional personnel may be required, but the employer makes this determination, based on specific circumstances. The need for standby personnel when one or more employees are in IDLH atmospheres is clear. Any failure of the respirator would leave workers exposed to dangerous conditions at a time immediate rescue is essential. Standby personnel must therefore know how to rescue effectively, without endangering themselves. At least one standby person and communications, training, rescue equipment, notification systems and backup assistance are required. The employer's respiratory protection program should address all reasonably anticipated work in IDLH locations. In many cases, this requirement must be combined with the permit-required confined space entry standard, 29 CFR 1910.146.

(g)(4) Procedures for interior structural firefighting

This paragraph mandates the two-in/two-out rule whereby entry is made with a buddy and at least two employees remain outside the IDLH atmosphere in readiness to perform assistance or rescue activities. This is consistent with the National Fire Protection Association standard, NFPA 1500-1997, "Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs." paragraph 6-4. All personnel must wear SCBA respirators and visual or voice contact must be maintained at all times. During the incipient fire stage, the incident commander may permit entry with fewer team members, until the fire progresses beyond the incipient stage. The paragraph clarifies that it is not a violation to initiate emergency rescue before this full team assembles.


The employer is responsible for the cleaning and disinfecting, storage, inspection and repair of respirators. This paragraph provided specific procedures to be followed. Appendix B-2 is cited for cleaning and disinfecting procedures, although manufacturer recommendations may be followed if they effectively clean and disinfect the respirator and prevent damage to the respirator and to the wearer. The importance of proper rinsing cannot be overemphasized. Cleansing and disinfecting agents are skin irritants and must be completely removed from the facepiece. Appendix B-2 - respirator cleaning procedures is attached to the end of the document.

As in the original standard, respirators must be cleaned and disinfected prior to being transferred from one employee to another. In addition, respirators for emergency use or fit testing must be cleansed and disinfected after each use so that it is immediately ready for the next use. Cleaning and disinfecting individually assigned respirators is done as needed. If employees clean their own respirators, the employer must provide the necessary supplies, facilities and time.

In addition to proper storage, emergency respirators must be stored in an accessible area and the storage location clearly labeled. The employer is responsible for ensuring that employees properly store their assigned respirators.

Inspection requirements are little changed from the original standard, except that the revised standard contains greater specificity concerning the inspection procedures for SCBA and emergency use of respirators. Air and oxygen respirator cylinders are required to be inspected for pressure, which must be at least 90 percent of the manufacturer's recommended pressure level. A written inspection record is required for each emergency use respirator.

Repairs are limited to qualified personnel, as in the original standard. Limitations on the types of repairs to be undertaken are specified.



OSHA has provided the necessary detail for air quality in the revised standard, reducing the need for employers to consult other references to obtain this information. Compressed breathing air quality requirements now list the concentration limits for oxygen, hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. These limits match the 1989 recommendations of the Compressed Gas Association for Grade D breathing air.

Compressed air cylinders are required to have a certification of their air quality analysis from the compressed breathing air supplier and the cylinder must meet DOT container specifications. One DOT requirement is for hydrostatic testing every three to five years, depending on the composition of the cylinder. The test date must be stamped into the metal at the base of the cylinder. Compressed breathing air cylinders must also be labeled in accordance with the NIOSH respirator certification standard, 42 CFR part 84. There is no requirement for employers to test purchased breathing air in cylinders if vendor certification is supplied with each cylinder.

If the employer compresses air for breathing, the purity requirements are both specification and performance-based. The air inlet must be located away from sources of contamination, such as exhaust gases from nearby vehicles or from the motor that powers the compressor itself. Only high quality air must be compressed for respirator use. The Grade D criteria must be met and the employer must prevent contaminant and moisture entry. Too much moisture could result in valves freezing in cold environments which could block air lines, fittings and pressure regulators.

Breathing air compressors are required to have suitable in-line, air-purifying sorbent beds and filters, with documentation of their change dates. Periodic inspection and maintenance is critical to compressor performance and the employer must determine the change-out schedule. The employer must limit carbon monoxide levels by either using non-oil lubricated compressors or, if using oil lubricated compressors, using an alarm to warn of high temperature and/or high carbon monoxide levels. Carbon monoxide levels must be measured, if oil lubricating compressors lack a carbon monoxide alarm, at sufficiently frequent intervals to prevent carbon monoxide levels in the breathing air from exceeding 10 ppm. Continuous carbon monoxide monitoring is recommended wherever the purity of inlet air is not optimal or if the compressor has a history of malfunction.

A breathing air compressor is no longer required to have a receiver of sufficient capacity to allow the respirator user to escape in the event of compressor failure, since supplied-air respirators used in IDLH atmospheres are required to have an auxiliary self-contained air supply for emergency escape. In non-IDLH atmospheres, the user could safely escape in the event of compressor failure. Ambient air movers that provide air to supplied-air respirators are allowed and regulated as breathing air compressors.

Very importantly, the standard requires that breathing air couplings must not be compatible with couplings for nonrespirable air, such as plant worksite air or nitrogen systems. By requiring incompatible couplings with other air or gas systems, OSHA intends to prevent inadvertent cross-connections that could result in adverse health effects, or even coma and death by respirator users who rely on supplied air in their respirators. The standard also prohibits the use of asphyxiating gases, such as nitrogen, to be introduced into the lines.


Respirator filters, cartridges and canisters in use must be labeled and color coded by the manufacturer with the NIOSH approval, which must not be removed, obscured or defaced. The NIOSH label informs the employer and the user that the filter is approved and of the purposes for which it is approved. This information assists in proper selection of filters. While in service, the label assists co-workers and supervisors to check that the appropriate filter is being used by the employee. Date marking by the employer or employee, which is sometimes required to control cartridge use, should not obscure the NIOSH labeling.


The key word in the training requirement paragraph is "effective." The revised standard does not specify the number of hours of required training, nor does it specify the delivery method of that training, whether in a classroom or on the job or by a nationally recognized expert of by the direct supervisor. Performance is the measure of required training. These performance criteria are spelled out in seven comprehensive topics listed under paragraph (k)(1). For example, employees must be able to demonstrate:

Knowledge of why the respirator is necessary and how the protective features of the respirator can be compromised by improper fit, usage or maintenance. Other knowledge requirement elements include:

Limitations and capabilities of the selected respirator

Response to emergency situations and failures involving respirator usage

Inspection and donning and doffing procedures

User seal check procedures

Maintenance and storage requirements

Medical symptoms and signs that may limit or prevent the effective use of respirators

General requirements of this standard

The employer should access this knowledge via a combination of written or oral examinations, interviews and observations of respirator use by the employee on the job. Demonstrated competence is the measurement of success and similar to what is required in the personal protective equipment standards. A quiz is provided under separate cover and shall be administered as part of training.

The extent of training depends on the workplace and how much control employees are assigned for their respirators. Since ARS employees take sole responsibility for their respirators, each individual shall be trained to perform cleansing, disinfecting, storage, maintenance and inspection functions. If a lead pesticide applicator or technician is assigned to maintenance of all units then other employees may not need to be able to demonstrate as detailed a knowledge of these procedures. They still must know about these procedures and must still be able to personally inspect their own respirators before each use.

Respirator training can, and should, be coordinated with other training, such as Hazard Communication. Such coordination reinforces all training and reduces the training resources the employer must provide.

The employer can determine the most effective way to provide respiratory protection training. OSHA does require that it be comprehensible to the employee and comprehensive in scope. The training should be presented at an educational level appropriate for the employee and in a language that the employee understands. Foreign language trainers or translators may need to be provided to ensure that non-English speaking employees fully understand the information and have the opportunity to have their questions answered.

Training must be repeated or supplemented whenever the employer becomes aware that the employee lacks the required knowledge or is improperly using a respirator and when there are changes in the workplace or the type of respirator selected.

Training must be provided before the employee wears a respirator and annually thereafter. Refresher training promotes continued confidence on the part of employees about their use of respirators and reverses complacency on the part of both the employer and the employee. Annual training is an opportunity for employees to interact with more knowledgeable persons about respirator use and reinforce their skills and motivation.

The standard incorporates an annual criterion for refresher training. This is consistent with previous training requirements under substance-specific standards, such as formaldehyde, asbestos and lead. Retraining on a more frequent schedule may be required by some employers, but not by OSHA, particularly for SCBA wearers and emergency response workers. The term "annual" has historically been interpreted by OSHA to mean at 12-month intervals. If an employee is trained in February, it is expected that the employee would be retrained in February of the following year (and not in October or November of the following year). OSHA expects employers to uphold this schedule, since they have an entire year to plan the next training session. In isolated instances with extenuating circumstances, the employer might be excused for delaying the refresher training by a month, but anything longer than that would not meet the "annual" requirement.

Training is portable. Employees previously trained do not need to be initially trained on assignment to a new workplace if the employer can demonstrate that the new employee can demonstrate knowledge of the elements required in the initial training. However, repeat training is required within 12 months of the employee's previous training date if the initial training is not provided on hiring or reassignment.

Employees who voluntarily wear respirators in the workplace when they are not required to do so by OSHA or their employer have a reduced training requirement. These employees must receive basic information about respirators that is contained in Appendix D to the standard. This information includes reasons for wearing a respirator and precautions for safe use. The information may be transmitted in writing or orally to the employee before the employee uses a respirator.


This revised standard includes guidance for employers in conducting their program evaluations. The original standard required program evaluation, but did not indicate what the scope should be. The revised standard is performance-oriented and leaves the frequency of program evaluation to the employer, based on its judgment about the complexity of the program and its experience.

An important element mandated under program evaluation is consultation with employees who are directly affected by it, i.e., respirator users. The employer must conduct workplace evaluations to ensure that the respiratory protection program is being implemented as written, and the employer should regularly consult with employees about their views of the program and to identify any problems.

The evaluation must also include respirator fit, selection and use of respirators in the workplace, and their maintenance. This is both a technical evaluation and a management one and it may be performed by employees, supervisors and/or the respiratory protection administrator. Problems discovered during program evaluation should be promptly corrected in order to maintain the program effectiveness.


Three types of written records are required: medical evaluation, fit testing and the respirator program. These written records must be made available on request to affected employees and authorized OSHA representatives. The medical evaluation records, including the respirator questionnaire, are handled in accordance with the OSHA medical records requirements found in 29 CFR 1910.1020. They must be handled confidentially and retained for a period of 30 years after the employee's termination. These records must be made available to affected employees and their designated representatives on request throughout the retention period.

Fit test records must include the employee's name or identification, type of fit test performed, respirator identification, date of test and test results. Normally, these records are retained only until the next fit test is performed or for one year. These records are important to confirm whether or not an annual fit test was performed, if an employee was tested on a particular make, model, style and size respirator, and if the use of the respirator is consistent with the fit test result. Employers may elect to retain the tests for a longer period of time.

The current respirator program must be retained by the employer. Earlier versions may be discarded or retained, at the employer's option. It must be made available to affected employees on request.


Although the effective date for the standard is April 8, 1998, compliance dates are later, to allow employers time to comply. Paragraph (a), Permissible practice, becomes effective on September 8, 1998 and the remainder of the standard goes into effect one month later, on October 5, 1998. When these dates arrive, employers must be in full compliance and accordingly, until that time, employers should be actively evaluating their current programs and making the necessary changes to be in compliance by the compliance dates.

Until the effective date, employers are required to be in compliance with the original standards, 29 CFR 1910.134 for General Industry, and 1926.103 for the Construction Industry. If the effective date of the revised respiratory protection standard is administratively or judicially delayed, the previous standards will remain in effect until issues are resolved and a new effective date is published in the Federal Register.

Many employers already have respiratory protection programs that meet the revised standard. Some will only have to revise a few sections of their existing programs to be in compliance. Employers who had minimal programs under the previous standard have their work cut out for them.

Any activities, such as fit testing or medical evaluations, that are performed before the compliance dates are allowed to stand after the compliance date, if they were performed in accordance with requirements in the revised standard. For example, if fit testing performed prior to the compliance date follows the revised standard criteria in paragraph (f) and Appendix A, it will be accepted after the compliance date.

On the other hand, if fit testing performed prior to the compliance date did not match the revised requirements, if would not be accepted as a valid fit test after the compliance date and the employer would have to repeat the test or risk being found in violation. The 180-day window between the effective and the compliance dates is for employers to ramp up their programs for full compliance.





This is from the OSHA Standard, Final Rule

[Appendix A to Sec. 1910.134: Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory)]

Part I. OSHA-Accepted Fit Test Protocols

A. Fit Testing Procedures - General Requirements

The employer shall conduct fit testing using the following procedures. The requirements in this appendix apply to all OSHA-accepted fit test methods, both QLFT and QNFT.

1. The test subject shall be allowed to pick the most acceptable respirator from a sufficient number of respirator models and sizes so that the respirator is acceptable to, and correctly fits, the user.

2. Prior to the selection process, the test subject shall be shown how to put on a respirator, how it should be positioned on the face, how to set strap tension and how to determine an acceptable fit. A mirror shall be available to assist the subject in evaluating the fit and positioning of the respirator. This instruction may not constitute the subject's formal training on respirator use, because it is only a review.

3. The test subject shall be informed that he/she is being asked to select the respirator that provides the most acceptable fit. Each respirator represents a different size and shape, and if fitted and used properly, will provide adequate protection.

4. The test subject shall be instructed to hold each chosen facepiece up to the face and eliminate those that obviously do not give an acceptable fit.

5. The more acceptable facepieces are noted in case the one selected proves unacceptable; the most comfortable mask is donned and worn at least five minutes to assess comfort. Assistance in assessing comfort can be given by discussing the points in the following item A.6. If the test subject is not familiar with using a particular respirator, the test subject shall be directed to don the mask several times and to adjust the straps each time to become adept at setting proper tension on the straps.

6. Assessment of comfort shall include a review of the following points with the test subject and allowing the test subject adequate time to determine the comfort of the respirator:

(a) Position of the mask on the nose

(b) Room for eye protection

(c) Room to talk

(d) Position of mask on face and cheeks

7. The following criteria shall be used to help determine the adequacy of the respirator fit:

(a) Chin properly placed;

(b) Adequate strap tension, not overly tightened;

(c) Fit across nose bridge;

(d) Respirator of proper size to span distance from nose to chin;

(e) Tendency of respirator to slip;

(f) Self-observation in mirror to evaluate fit and respirator position.

8. The test subject shall conduct a user seal check, either the negative and positive pressure seal checks described in Appendix B-1 of this section or those recommended by the respirator manufacturer which provide equivalent protection to the procedures in Appendix B-1. Before conducting the negative and positive pressure checks, the subject shall be told to seat the mask on the face by moving the head from side-to-side and up and down slowly while taking in a few slow deep breaths. Another facepiece shall be selected and retested if the test subject fails the user seal check tests.

9. The test shall 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.

10. If a test subject exhibits difficulty in breathing during the tests, she or he shall be referred to a physician or other licensed health care professional, as appropriate, to determine whether the test subject can wear a respirator while performing her or his duties.

11. If the employee finds the fit of the respirator unacceptable, the test subject shall be given the opportunity to select a different respirator and to be retested.

12. Exercise regimen. Prior to the commencement of the fit test, the test subject shall be given a description of the fit test and the test subject's responsibilities during the test procedure. The description of the process shall include a description of the test exercises that the subject will be performing. The respirator to be tested shall be worn for at least 5 minutes before the start of the fit test.

13. The fit test shall be performed while the test subject is wearing any applicable safety equipment that may be worn during actual respirator use which could interfere with respirator fit.

14. Test Exercises. (a) the following test exercises are to be performed for all fit testing methods prescribed in this appendix, except for the CNP method. A separate fit testing exercise regimen is contained in the CNP protocol. The test subject shall perform exercises, in the test environment, in the following manner:

(1) Normal breathing. In a normal standing position, without talking, the subject shall breathe normally.

(2) Deep breathing. In a normal standing position, the subject shall breathe slowly and deeply, taking caution so as not to hyperventilate.

(3) Turning head side to side. Standing in place, the subject shall slowly turn his/her head from side to side between the extreme positions on each side. The head shall be held at each extreme momentarily so the subject can inhale at each side.

(4) Moving head up and down. Standing in place, the subject shall slowly move his/her head up and down. The subject shall be instructed to inhale in the up position (i.e., when looking toward the ceiling).

(5) Talking. The subject shall talk out loud slowly and loud enough so as to be heard clearly by the test conductor. The subject can read from a prepared text such as the Rainbow Passage, count backward from 100, or recite a memorized poem or song.

Rainbow Passage

When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

(6) Grimace. The test subject shall grimace by smiling or frowning. (This applies only to QNFT testing; it is not performed for QLFT)

(7) Bending over. The test subject shall bend at the waist as if he/she were to touch his/her toes. Jogging in place shall be substituted for this exercise in those test environments such as shroud type QNFT or QLFT units that do not permit bending over at the waist.

(8) Normal breathing. Same as exercise (1).

(b) Each test exercise shall be performed for one minute except for the grimace exercise which shall be performed for 15 seconds. The test subject shall be questioned by the test conductor regarding the comfort of the respirator upon completion of the protocol. If it has become unacceptable, another model of respirator shall be tried. The respirator shall not be adjusted once the fit test exercises begin. Any adjustment voids the test, and the fit test must be repeated.

B. Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT) Protocols

1. General

(a) The employer shall ensure that persons administering QLFT are able to prepare test solutions, calibrate equipment and perform tests properly, recognize invalid tests, and ensure that test equipment is in proper working order.

(b) The employer shall ensure that QLFT equipment is kept clean and well maintained so as to operate within the parameters for which it was designed.

2. Isoamyl Acetate Protocol

Note: This protocol is not appropriate to use for the fit testing of particulate respirators. If used to fit test particulate respirators, the respirator must be equipped with an organic vapor filter.

(a) Odor Threshold Screening

Odor threshold screening, performed without wearing a respirator, is intended to determine if the individual tested can detect the odor of isoamyl acetate at low levels.

(1) Three 1 liter glass jars with metal lids are required.

(2) Odor-free water (e.g., distilled or spring water) at approximately 25 deg. C (77 deg. F) shall be used for the solutions.

(3) The isoamyl acetate (IAA) (also known at isopentyl acetate) stock solution is prepared by adding 1 ml of pure IAA to 800 ml of odor-free water in a 1 liter jar, closing the lid and shaking for 30 seconds. A new solution shall be prepared at least weekly.

(4) The screening test shall be conducted in a room separate from the room used for actual fit testing. The two rooms shall be well-ventilated to prevent the odor of IAA from becoming evident in the general room air where testing takes place.

(5) The odor test solution is prepared in a second jar by placing 0.4 ml of the stock solution into 500 ml of odor-free water using a clean dropper or pipette. The solution shall be shaken for 30 seconds and allowed to stand for two to three minutes so that the IAA concentration above the liquid may reach equilibrium. This solution shall be used for only one day.

(6) A test blank shall be prepared in a third jar by adding 500 cc of odor-free water.

(7) The odor test and test blank jar lids shall be labeled (e.g., 1 and 2) for jar identification. Labels shall be placed on the lids so that they can be peeled off periodically and switched to maintain the integrity of the test.

(8) The following instruction shall be typed on a card and placed on the table in front of the two test jars (i.e., 1 and 2): "The purpose of this test is to determine if you can smell banana oil at a low concentration. The two bottles in front of you contain water. One of these bottles also contains a small amount of banana oil. Be sure the covers are on tight, then shake each bottle for two seconds. Unscrew the lid of each bottle, one at a time, and sniff at the mouth of the bottle. Indicate to the test conductor which bottle contains banana oil."

(9) The mixtures used in the IAA odor detection test shall be prepared in an area separate from where the test is performed, in order to prevent olfactory fatigue in the subject.

(10) If the test subject is unable to correctly identify the jar containing the odor test solution, the IAA qualitative fit test shall not be performed.

(11) If the test subject correctly identifies the jar containing the odor test solution, the test subject may proceed to respirator selection and fit testing.

(b) Isoamyl Acetate Fit Test

(1) The fit test chamber shall be a clear 55-gallon drum liner suspended inverted over a 2-foot diameter frame so that the top of the chamber is about 6 inches above the test subject's head. If no drum liner is available, a similar chamber shall be constructed using plastic sheeting. The inside top center of the chamber shall have a small hook attached.

(2) Each respirator used for the fitting and fit testing shall be equipped with organic vapor cartridges of offer protection against organic vapors.

(3) After selecting, donning, and properly adjusting a respirator, the test subject shall wear it to the fit testing room. This room shall be separate from the room used for odor threshold screening and respirator selection, and shall be well-ventilated, as by an exhaust fan or lab hood, to prevent general room contamination.

(4) A copy of the test exercises and any prepared text from which the subject is to read shall be taped to the inside of the test chamber.

(5) Upon entering the test chamber, the test subject shall be given a 6-inch by 5-inch piece of paper towel, or other porous, absorbent, single-ply material, folded in half and wetted with 0.75 ml of pure IAA. The test subject shall hang the wet towel on the hook at the top of the chamber. An IAA test swab or ampule may be substituted for the IAA wetted paper towel provided it has been demonstrated that the alternative IAA source will generate an IAA test atmosphere with a concentration equivalent to that generated by the paper towel method.

(6) Allow two minutes for the IAA test concentration to stabilize before starting the fit test exercises. This would be an appropriate time to talk with the test subject; to explain the fit test, the importance of his/her cooperation, and the purpose for the test exercises; or to demonstrate some of the exercises.

(7) If at any time during the test, the subject detects the banana-like odor of IAA, the test is failed. The subject shall quickly exit from the test chamber and leave the test area to avoid olfactory fatigue.

(8) If the test failed, the subject shall return to the selection room and remove the respirator. The test subject shall repeat the odor sensitivity test, select and put on another respirator, return to the test area and again begin the fit test procedure described in (b) (1) through (7) above. The process continues until a respirator that fits well has been found. Should the odor sensitivity test be failed, the subject shall wait at least 5 minutes before retesting. Odor sensitivity will usually have returned by this time.

(9) If the subject passes the test, the efficiency of the test procedure shall be demonstrated by having the subject break the respirator face seal and take a breath before exiting the chamber.

(10) When the test subject leaves the chamber, the subject shall remove the saturated towel and return it to the person conducting the test, so that there is no significant IAA concentration buildup in the chamber during subsequent tests. The used towels shall be kept in a self-sealing plastic bag to keep the test area from being contaminated.

3. Saccharin Solution Aerosol Protocol

The entire screening and testing procedure shall be explained to the test subject prior to the conduct of the screening test.

(a) Taste threshold screening. The saccharin taste threshold screening, performed without wearing a respirator, is intended to determine whether the individual being tested can detect the taste of saccharin.

(1) During threshold screening as well as during fit testing, subjects shall wear an enclosure about the head and shoulders that is approximately 12 inches in diameter by 14 inches tall with at least the front portion clear and that allows free movements of the head when a respirator is worn. An enclosure substantially similar to the 3M hood assembly, parts # FT 14 and # FT 15 combined, is adequate.

(2) The test enclosure shall have a \3/4\-inch (1.9 cm) hole in front of the test subject's nose and mouth area to accommodate the nebulizer nozzle.

(3) The test subject shall don the test enclosure. Throughout the threshold screening test, the test subject shall breathe through his/her slightly open mouth with tongue extended. The subject is instructed to report when he/she detects a sweet taste.

(4) Using a DeVilbiss Model 40 Inhalation Medication Nebulizer or equivalent, the test conductor shall spray the threshold check solution into the enclosure. The nozzle is directed away from the nose and mouth of the person. This nebulizer shall be clearly marked to distinguish it from the fit test solution nebulizer.

(5) The threshold check solution is prepared by dissolving 0.83 gram of sodium saccharin USP in 100 ml of warm water. It can be prepared by putting 1 ml of the fit test solution (see (b) (5) below) in 100 ml of distilled water.

(6) To produce the aerosol, the nebulizer bulb is firmly squeezed so that it collapses completely, then released and allowed to fully expand.

(7) Ten squeezes are repeated rapidly and then the test subject is asked whether the saccharin can be tasted. If the test subject reports tasting the sweet taste during the ten squeezes, the screening test is completed. The taste threshold is noted as ten regardless of the number of squeezes actually completed.

(8) If the first response is negative, ten more squeezes are repeated rapidly and the test subject is again asked whether the saccharin is tasted. If the test subject reports tasting the sweet taste during the second ten squeezes, the screening test is completed. The taste threshold is noted as twenty regardless of the number of squeezes actually completed.

(9) If the second response is negative, ten more squeezes are repeated rapidly and the test subject is again asked whether the saccharin is tasted. If the test subject reports tasting the sweet taste during the third set of ten squeezes, the screening test is completed. The taste threshold is noted as thirty regardless of the number of squeezes actually completed.

(10) The test conductor will take note of the number of squeezes required to solicit a taste response.

(11) If the saccharin is not tasted after 30 squeezes (step 10), the test subject is unable to taste saccharin and may not perform the saccharin fit test.

Note to paragraph 3. (a): If the test subject eats or drinks something sweet before the screening test, he/she may be unable to taste the weak saccharin solution.

(12) If a taste response is elicited, the test subject shall be asked to take note of the taste for reference in the fit test.

(13) Correct use of the nebulizer means that approximately 1 ml of liquid is used at a time in the nebulizer body.

(14) The nebulizer shall be thoroughly rinsed in water, shaken dry, and refilled at least each morning and afternoon or at least every four hours.

(b) Saccharin solution aerosol fit test procedure.

(1) The test subject may not eat, drink (except plain water), smoke, or chew gum for 15 minutes before the test.

(2) The fit test uses the same enclosure described in 3. (a) above.

(3) The test subject shall don the enclosure while wearing the respirator selected in section I. A. of this appendix. The respirator shall be properly adjusted and equipped with a particulate filter(s).

(4) A second DeVilbiss Model 40 Inhalation Medication Nebulizer or equivalent is used to spray the fit test solution into the enclosure. This nebulizer shall be clearly marked to distinguish it from the screening test solution nebulizer.

(5) The fit test solution is prepared by adding 83 grams of sodium saccharin to 100 ml of warm water.

(6) As before, the test subject shall breathe through the slightly open mouth with tongue extended, and report if he/she tastes the sweet taste of saccharin.

(7) The nebulizer is inserted into the hole in the front of the enclosure and an initial concentration of saccharin fit test solution is sprayed into the enclosure using the same number of squeezes (either 10, 20, 0r 30 squeezes) based on the number of squeezes required to elicit a taste response as noted during the screening test. A minimum of 10 squeezes is required.

(8) After generating the aerosol, the test subject shall be instructed to perform the exercises in section 1. A. 14. of this appendix.

(9) Every 30 seconds the aerosol concentration shall be replenished using one half the original number of squeezes used initially (e.g., 5, 10 or 15).

(10) The test subject shall indicate to the test conductor if at any time during the fit test the taste of saccharin is detected. If the test subject does not report tasting the saccharin, the test is passed.

(11) If the taste of saccharin is detected, the fit is deemed unsatisfactory and the test is failed. A different respirator shall be tried and the entire test procedure is repeated (taste threshold screening and fit testing).

(12) Since the nebulizer has a tendency to clog during use, the test operator must make periodic checks of the nebulizer to ensure that it is not clogged. If clogging is found at the end of the test session, the test is invalid.

4. BitrexTM (Denatonium Benzoate) Solution Aerosol

Qualitative Fit Test Protocol

The BitrexTM (Denatonium Benzoate) solution aerosol QLFT protocol uses the published saccharin test protocol because that protocol is widely accepted. Bitrex is routinely used as a taste aversion agent in household liquids which children should not be drinking and is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the National Safety Council, and the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The entire screening and testing procedure shall be explained to the test subject prior to the conduct of the screening test.

(a) Taste Threshold Screening.

The Bitrex taste threshold screening, performed without wearing a respirator, is intended to determine whether the individual being tested can detect the taste of Bitrex.

(1) During threshold screening as well as during fit testing, subjects shall wear an enclosure about the head and shoulders that is approximately 12 inches (30.5 cm) in diameter by 14 inches (35.6 cm) tall. The front portion of the enclosure shall be clear from the respirator and allow free movement of the head when a respirator is worn. An enclosure substantially similar to the 3M hood assembly, parts #14 and #15 combined, is adequate.

(2) The test enclosure shall have a \3/4\ inch (1.9 cm) hole in front of the test subject's nose and mouth area to accommodate the nebulizer nozzle.

(3) The test subject shall don the test enclosure. Throughout the threshold screening test, the test subject shall breathe through his or her slightly open mouth with tongue extended. The subject is instructed to report when he/she detects a bitter taste.

(4) Using a DeVilbiss Model 40 Inhalation Medication Nebulizer or equivalent, the test conductor shall spray the Threshold Check Solution into the enclosure. This Nebulizer shall be clearly marked to distinguish it from the fit test solution nebulizer.

(5) The Threshold Check Solution is prepared by adding 13.5 milligrams of Bitrex to 100 ml of 5% salt (NaCl) solution in distilled water.

(6) To produce the aerosol, the nebulizer bulb is firmly squeezed so that the bulb collapses completely, and is then released and allowed to fully expand.

(7) An initial ten squeezes are repeated rapidly and then the test subject is asked whether the Bitrex can be tasted. If the test subject reports tasting the bitter taste during the ten squeezes, the screening test is completed. The taste threshold is noted as ten regardless of the number of squeezes actually completed.

(8) If the first response is negative, ten more squeezes are repeated rapidly and the test subject is again asked whether the Bitrex is tasted. If the test subject reports tasting the bitter taste during the second ten squeezes, the screening test is completed. The taste threshold is noted as twenty regardless of number of squeezed actually completed.

(9) If the second response is negative, ten more squeezed are repeated rapidly and the test subject is again asked whether the Bitrex is tasted. If the test subject reports tasting the bitter taste during the third set of ten squeezes, the screening test is completed. The taste threshold is noted as thirty regardless of the number of squeezes actually completed.

(10) The test conductor will take note of the number of squeezes required to solicit a taste response.

(11) If the Bitrex is not tasted after 30 squeezes (step 10), the test subject is unable to taste Bitrex and may not perform the Bitrex fit test.

(12) If a taste response if elicited, the test subject shall be asked to take note of the taste for reference in the fit test.

(13) Correct use of the nebulizer means that approximately 1 ml of liquid is used at a time in the nebulizer body.

(14) The nebulizer shall be thoroughly rinsed in water, shaken to dry, and refilled at least each morning and afternoon or at least every four hours.

(b) Bitrex Solution Aerosol Fit Test Procedure.

(1) The test subject may not eat, drink, (except plain water), smoke, or chew gum for at least 15 minutes before the test.

(2) The fit test uses the same enclosure as that described in 4. (a) above.

(3) The test subject shall don the enclosure while wearing the respirator selected according to section I. A. of this appendix. The respirator shall be properly adjusted and equipped with any type particulate filter(s).

(4) A second DeVilbiss Model 40 Inhalation Medication Nebulizer or equivalent is used to spray the fit test solution into the enclosure. This nebulizer shall be clearly marked to distinguish it from the screening test solution nebulizer.

(5) The fit test solution is prepared by adding 337.5 mg of Bitrex to 200 ml of a 5% salt (NaCl) solution in warm water.

(6) As before, the test subject shall breathe through his or her slightly open mouth with tongue extended, and be instructed to report if he/she tastes the bitter taste of Bitrex.

(7) The nebulizer is inserted into the hole in the front of the enclosure and an initial concentration of the fit test solution is sprayed into the enclosure using the same number of squeezes (either 10, 20, or 30 squeezes) based on the number of squeezes required to elicit a taste response as noted during the screening taste.

(8) After generating the aerosol, the test subject shall be instructed to perform the exercises in section I. A. 14. of this appendix.

(9) Every 30 seconds the aerosol concentration shall be replenished using one half the number of squeezes used initially (e.g., 5, 10, or 15).

(10) The test subject shall indicate to the test conductor if at any time during the fit test the taste of Bitrex is detected. If the test subject does not report tasting the Bitrex, the test is passed.

(11) If the taste of Bitrex is detected, the fit is deemed unsatisfactory and the test is failed. A different respirator shall be tried and the entire test procedure is repeated (taste threshold screening and fit testing).

5. Irritant Smoke (Stannic Chloride) Protocol

This qualitative fit test uses a person's response to the irritating chemicals released in the "smoke" produced by a stannic chloride ventilation smoke tube to detect leakage into the respirator.

(a) General Requirements and Precautions

(1) The respirator to be tested shall be equipped with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) or P100 series filter(s).

(2) Only stannic chloride smoke tubes shall be used for this protocol.

(3) No form of test enclosure or hood for the test subject shall be used.

(4) The smoke can be irritating to the eyes, lungs, and nasal passages. The test conductor shall take precautions to minimize the test subject's exposure to irritant smoke. Sensitivity varies, and certain individuals may respond to a greater degree to irritant smoke. Care shall be taken when performing the sensitivity screening checks that determine whether the test subject can detect irritant smoke to use only the minimum amount of smoke necessary to elicit a response from the test subject.

(5) The fit test shall be performed in an area with adequate ventilation to prevent exposure of the person conducting the fit test or the build-up of irritant smoke in the general atmosphere.

(b) Sensitivity Screening Check

The person to be tested must demonstrate his or her ability to detect a weak concentration of the irritant smoke.

(1) The test operator shall break both ends of a ventilation smoke tube containing stannic chloride, and attach one end of the smoke tube to a low flow air pump set to deliver 200 milliliters per minute, or an aspirator squeeze bulb. The test operator shall cover the other end of the smoke tube with a short piece of tubing to prevent potential injury from the jagged end of the smoke tube.

(2) The test operator shall advise the test subject that the smoke can be irritating to the eyes, lungs, and nasal passages and instruct the subject to keep his/her eyes closed while the test is performed.

(3) The test subject shall be allowed to smell a weak concentration of the irritant smoke before the respirator is donned to become familiar with its irritating properties and to determine if he/she can detect the irritating properties of the smoke. The test operator shall carefully direct a small amount of the irritant smoke in the test subject's direction to determine that he/she can detect it.

? Irritant Smoke Fit Test Procedure

(1) The person being fit tested shall don the respirator without assistance, and perform the required user seal check(s).

(2) The test subject shall be instructed to keep his/her eyes closed.

(3) The test operator shall direct the stream of irritant smoke from the smoke tube toward the faceseal area of the test subject, using the low flow pump or the squeeze bulb. The test operator shall begin at least 12 inches from the facepiece and move the smoke stream around the whole perimeter of the mask. The operator shall begin at least 12 inches from the facepiece and move the smoke stream around the whole perimeter of the mask. The operator shall gradually make two more passes around the perimeter of the mask, moving to within six inches of the respirator.

(4) If the person being tested has not had an involuntary response and/or detected the irritant smoke, proceed with the test exercises.

(5) The exercises identified in section I. A. 14. of this appendix shall be performed by the test subject while the respirator seal is being continually challenged by the smoke, directed around the perimeter of the respirator at a distance of six inches.

(6) If the person being fit tested reports detecting the irritant smoke at any time, the test is failed. The person being retested must repeat the entire sensitivity check and fit test procedure.

(7) Each test subject passing the irritant smoke test without evidence of a response (involuntary cough, irritation) shall be given a second sensitivity screening check, with the smoke from the same smoke tube used during the fit test, once the respirator has been removed, to determine whether he/she still reacts to the smoke. Failure to evoke a response shall void the fit test.

(8) If a response is produced during this second sensitivity check, then the fit test is passed.

C. Quantative Fit Test (QNFT) Protocols

(Reserved, see web page - OSHA for detail)



[Appendix B-1 to Sec. 1910.134: User Seal Check Procedures (Mandatory)]

The individual who uses a tight-fitting respirator is to perform a user seal check to ensure that an adequate seal is achieved each time the respirator is put on. Either the positive and negative pressure checks listed in this appendix, or the respirator manufacturer's recommended user seal check method shall be used. User seal checks are not substitutes for qualitative or quantative fit tests.

I. Facepiece Positive and/or Negative Pressure Checks

A. Positive pressure check. Close off the exhalation valve and exhale gently into the facepiece. The face fit is considered satisfactory if a slight positive pressure can be built up inside the facepiece without any evidence of outward leakage of air at the seal. For most respirators this method of leak testing requires the wearer to first remove the exhalation valve cover before closing off the exhalation valve and then carefully replacing it after the test.

B. Negative pressure check. Close off the inlet opening of the canister or cartridge (s) by covering with the palm of the hand (s) or by replacing the filter seal (s), inhale gently so that the facepiece collapses slightly, and hold the breath for ten seconds. The design of the inlet opening of some cartridges cannot be effectively covered with the palm of the hand. The test can be performed by covering the inlet opening of the cartridge with a thin latex or nitrile glove. If the facepiece remains in its slightly collapsed condition and no inward leakage of air is detected, the tightness of the respirator is considered satisfactory.

Note that the NAA safety office has videos that demonstrate these test procedures.

II. Manufacturer's Recommended User Seal Check Procedures.

The respirator manufacturer's recommended procedures for performing a user seal check may be used instead of the positive and/or negative pressure check procedures provided that the employer demonstrates that the manufacturer's procedures are equally effective.


[Appendix B-2 to Sec. 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 deg. C [110 deg. 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 deg. C [110 deg. 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 (100 deg. F); or,

2. Aqueous solution of iodine (50 ppm of iodine) made by adding approximately 0.8 milliliters of tincture of iodine (6-8 grams ammonium and/or potassium iodine/100cc of 45% alcohol) to one liter of water at 43 deg. C (110 deg. F); or,

3. Other commercially available cleansers of equivalent disinfect quality when used as directed, if their use is recommended or approved by the respirator manufacturer.

E. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43 deg. C [110 deg. 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.


[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, or 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.

*[63 FR 1152. Jan.8, 1998; 63 FR 20098, April 23, 1998]



NIOSH Publications

4676 Columbia Parkway, Mail Stop C-13

Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998

Phone: 1-800-356-4674

Fax: 513-533-8573


American National Standards Institute

Attn: Customer Service

11 West 42nd Street

New York, NY 10036

Phone: 212-642-4900

Fax: 212-302-1286


American Industrial Hygiene Association

AIHA Publication Orders

P.O. Box 27632

Richmond, VA 23261-7632

Phone: 703-849-8888


The AIHA "Respiratory Protection: A Manual and Guideline,"

Second Edition, STOCK #163-PC-91

(Available from the AIHA)

Filename: CFR1910.134



1. Rank the following respirators in order of protectiveness:

(1 = least protective, 5 = most protective)

Full-face air-purifying respirator

Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)

Disposable dust mask

Powered air-purifying respirator

Half-face air-purifying respirator

2. At or below what concentration is an atmosphere considered to be oxygen-deficient?

A. 12 percent

B. 16 percent

C. 18 percent

D. 19.5 percent

E. 21.5 percent

3. What is IDLH?

4. Which of the following is NOT an aerosol?

A. Smoke

B. Dust

C. Vapor

D. Mist

E. Fume

5. How often should you perform a negative-pressure fit check of your respirator?

6. What is a cartridge/canister breakthrough?

7. An air-purifying respirator with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges may

provide effective against:

A. Carbon monoxide

B. Aerosols

C. Hydrogen sulfide

D. Formaldehyde

E. Oxygen-deficiency

8. When must a respirator be sanitized?

9. Fit factor is a ratio between what two measures?

A. Concentration outside the respirator/concentration inside the respirator


C. Permissible exposure limit/concentration inside the respirator

D. Measured concentration in the workplace/permissible exposure limit

E. Permissible exposure limit/measured concentration in the workplace

10. If you experience unusual taste, odor, or eye or throat irritation while wearing a respirator, you should:

A. Start mouth breathing.

B. Ignore it, it's to be expected on occasion.

C. Hold your breath for a minute then resume breathing and see if the sensation persists.

D. Leave the contamination area and return to fresh air.

E. Rip the respirator off your face as fast as possible.

11. Which of the following respirators are positive-pressure respirators?

A. Atmosphere-supplying respirator

B. Dust mask

C. Full-face air-purifying respirator

D. Self-contained breathing apparatus

E. Powered air-purifying respirator

12. Which of the following restrictions apply to self-contained breathing apparatus?

A. The wearer must be physically able to carry 25-35 pounds.

B. The range of movement is limited to the length of the air hose.

C. The duration of use is half an hour or less.

D. The unit must not be worn in oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

E. The unit may hinder rescue of a victim in a confined space with a small entry opening.


Official answers are provided when you contact area safety office @ 215-233-6592