Section 1 – Introduction

Table of Contents:

Respiratory Protection Table of Contents

Program Purpose

  1. The purpose of our Respiratory Protection Program and the primary goal of this OSHA regulation is to prevent occupational disease caused by breathing air contaminated by harmful dusts, mists, fumes, gases, and vapors. When feasible, this shall be accomplished by the use of engineering controls such as:  local and general ventilation, enclosures and substitution of less hazardous materials. When engineering controls are not feasible or while they are being installed, proper respiratory protection must be used.
  2. When respirator protection is used to protect employees from inhalation hazards in the work place, a number of requirements must be met. OSHA requires that the employer provide respirators suited to the contaminants at the work place levels. Employers must establish and maintain a respiratory protection program. The employee must use the respiratory protection in a manner consistent with the training.

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Program Administration

  1. The responsibility and authority for the respiratory protection program shall be assigned to the director of personnel.
  2. These responsibilities include identification and location of exposures; supervision of respirator selection, medical screening, employee training and fit testing, cleaning, maintenance and storage, and evaluation of program effectiveness.

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Respirator Protection Definitions

  1. Dusts                     
    1. Solids broken down into fine airborne particles.
  2. Fumes
    1. Solids vaporized under high heat and condensed into very fine particles.
  3. Gases
    1. Vaporous substances that can spread freely throughout an area.
  4. IDLH
    1. Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health level published by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  5. Mists
    1. Liquids atomized and condensed.
  6. MUL
    1. Maximum Use Limitations are set by NIOSH for cartridge respirators used for specific contaminants and state the maximum concentrations that the cartridge can be used. These can be found in the respirator manufacturer’s literature.
  7. Odor Threshold
    1. A chemical must have an odor threshold (level it can be detected) below the TLV or an air purifying respirator may not be used.
  8. Protection Factor
    1. If no MUL is published, a general protection factor is used to determine the level of contaminant the respirator can be used against.
      1. Supplied Air-Full Face Piece or Pressure Demand = 1000 X TLV
      2. Powered Air Purifying Respirator = 25 X TLV
      3. Full Face Piece Air Purifying = 50 X TLV
      4. Air Purifying Half Mask = 10 X TLV
  9. TLV
    1. Threshold limit value is a time weighted average safe exposure limit for a contaminant over an eight hour day and a 40 hour week.
  10. Vapors
    1. Gaseous state of substances that are liquids or solids at room temperature (evaporate easily).

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