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Respiratory Protection


    Facilities Management will ensure that respiratory hazards within our facilities are evaluated, and that information concerning these hazards is transmitted to all associates. This procedure is intended to address comprehensively the following issues; evaluating the potential respiratory hazards, communicating information concerning these hazards, establishing appropriate engineering, work practice, or respiratory protective measures for associates. In addition this procedure addresses the selection, use, care, inspection, storage, testing of respiratory equipment and the training of those associates who use this equipment. Refer to: OSHA - 29 CFR 1910.134


    1. Chemical Cartridge Respirators - protect against gases and vapors. These respirators do not provide oxygen so they SHOULD NOT BE USED in areas where there is an oxygen deficient atmosphere. These respirators SHOULD NOT BE USED when the chemical in the atmosphere to be protected against does not have warning properties such as odor, taste, or irritation. These respirators ARE NOT TO BE USED as protection against anything that could cause immediate danger to life or health except for escape. Chemical cartridges are made to be chemical specific and SHOULD NOT BE USED for other chemical atmospheres.

    2. Disposable Mask - one which does not contain replacement filters and is secured to the head by one or two straps. These masks in the past were referred to as dust masks and are not for use in oxygen deficient or hazardous atmospheres.

    3. Dusts - are solid particles produced by processes such as grinding, crushing, and mixing. Example: asbestos, ceramics, clay, etc.

    4. Fumes - are tiny particles given off when metals are heated in processes such as welding, soldering, casting, and galvanizing. Example: Zinc fumes.

    5. Gases and Vapors - are substances which are neither liquid nor solids. Substances such as chlorine and carbon dioxide exist under normal conditions in gaseous states. They become liquid under pressure. Vapors are like gases except that they are formed by the evaporation of substances such as water which occur ordinarily as liquids.

    6. Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) - Any condition that poses an immediate or delayed threat to life or that would cause irreversible health effects or that would interfere with an individual's ability to escape unaided from a given area.

    7. Mechanical Filtering Respirators - protect against dust, fumes, and mists. They filter out harmful substances from breathing air before it is inhaled. These respirators do not provide oxygen so they SHOULD NOT BE USED in areas where there is an oxygen deficient atmosphere. They DO NOT PROTECT against gases or vapors.

    8. Mists - are tiny liquid droplets given off when liquids are sprayed, mixed or agitated in processes such as dipping, painting, and machining. Example: spray paint.

    9. Oxygen Deficient Atmosphere - an atmosphere containing less than 19.5 percent oxygen by volume. Oxygen-deficient atmospheres occur when the oxygen in the air has been used up by processes such as rusting, fire, or when another gas pushes oxygen out. Oxygen- deficiencies occur most often in confined spaces such as tanks, boilers, tunnels, sewers, or deep excavations.

    10. Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) - can protect the wearer against almost all hazards and supply clean air to the user. SCBA's supply clean air from a tank worn on the user's back. The air supply is limited to the amount of air the cylinder can hold. These devices may be used to enter IDLH (immediate danger to life and health) atmosphere.


    1. The Director of Facilities Management has the overall responsibility for the administration of this procedure.

    2. Assistant Director for Operations and the FM Managers are responsible for determining what specific applications require the use of respiratory equipment, providing proper respiratory equipment to meet the needs of each specific application and ensuring that proper training is given to all associates.

    3. Supervisors are responsible to establish and maintain this respiratory program whenever respirators are used, ensure that all associates under their control are completely knowledgeable of the respiratory protection requirements for the areas in which they work, and that all associates designated for these duties comply with all facets of this respiratory program, including respirator inspection, maintenance, fit testing, and training. Training will be documented and provided to the FM Training Coordinator.

    4. Associates are responsible for using respiratory protection in accordance with instructions and training received and are responsible for guarding against damage to the respirator, to immediately replace suspect respirators, reporting any trouble with or malfunction of the respirator to his/her supervisor, and maintaining the equipment in a clean and operable condition.


    1. When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators shall be used.

    2. Respirators. Respirators shall be provided by Facilities Management when such equipment is necessary to protect the health of the associate. Facilities Management Supervisor(s) shall:

      1. Provide the respirators which are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended.

      2. Be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of this written respiratory protective program which shall include the requirements outlined in 29 CFR 1910.134.

    3. Associates will not be assigned to tasks requiring use of respirators unless it has been determined that they are physically able to perform the work and use the equipment. A physician shall determine what health and physical conditions are pertinent. (See attachment C. Initial Medical Questionnaire and Attachment E, Medical Release Form) The respirator user's medical status will be reviewed on an ANNUAL basis. (See attachment D, Periodic Medical Questionnaire) OSHA says "periodically".

    4. The associate shall use the provided respiratory protection in accordance with instructions and training received.

    5. Respirators shall be selected on the basis of hazards to which the worker is exposed.

    6. The user shall be instructed and trained in the proper use of respirators and their limitations.

    7. Respirators shall be regularly cleaned and disinfected BY THE USER at the end of each work shift when they have been used B. (Attachment Respirator Inspection Record.)

    8. Respirators shall be stored by the user in a convenient, clean, and sanitary location.

    9. Respirators used routinely shall be inspected during cleaning. Worn or deteriorated parts shall be replaced. Respirators for emergency use such as self-contained devices shall be thoroughly inspected at least once a month and after each use by the supervisor or lead worker. (See attachment B, Respirator Inspection Record.)

    10. Appropriate surveillance of work area conditions and degree of associate exposure or stress shall be maintained.

    11. There shall be regular inspection and evaluation to determine the continued effectiveness of the program.

    12. NIOSH approved or accepted respirators shall be used when they are available. The respirator furnished shall provide adequate respiratory protection against the particular hazard for which it is designed.

  5. RESPIRATORY SELECTION PROCEDURE - Selection of respirators shall be made according to the specific hazard(s) involved per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1000 and will be selected in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions or other related requirements (OSHA, ANSI, or NIOSH standards, etc.).

    1. Air quality. Compressed air, compressed oxygen, liquid air, and liquid oxygen used for respiration shall be of high purity.

      1. Oxygen shall meet the requirements of the United States Pharmacopoeia for medical or breathing oxygen.

      2. Breathing air shall meet at least the requirements of the specification for Grade D breathing air as described in Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specification G-7.1-1966.

      3. Compressed oxygen shall not be used in supplied-air respirators or in open circuit self-contained breathing apparatus that have previously used compressed air.

      4. Oxygen must never be used with air line respirators. Breathing air may be supplied to respirators from cylinders or air compressors. Cylinders shall be tested and maintained as prescribed in the Shipping Container Specification Regulations of the Department of Transportation (49 CFR part 178).

    2. Supplied Air. Compressors purchased by Facilities Management for supplying air shall be equipped with the necessary safety and standby devices. A breathing-air type compressor shall be used. The type compressor used shall be constructed and situated so as to avoid entry of contaminated air into the system and suitable in-line air purifying sorbent beds and filters installed to further assure breathing air quality. A receiver of sufficient capacity to enable the respirator wearer to escape from a contaminated atmosphere in event of compressor failure, and alarms to indicate compressor failure and overheating shall be installed in the system. If an oil-lubricated compressor is used, it shall have a high-temperature or carbon monoxide alarm, or both. If only a high-temperature alarm is installed in the system, the air from the compressor shall be frequently tested for carbon monoxide(CO) to ensure that levels are below the exposure limit for CO.

      1. Air line couplings used shall be incompatible with outlets for other gas systems to prevent inadvertent servicing of air line respirators with non-respirable gases or oxygen.

      2. Breathing gas containers shall be properly marked and stored in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.101.


    1. There are five conditions under which respirators must be used:

      1. In regulated areas within the facility;

      2. In emergencies;

      3. Where engineering and work practice controls are inadequate;

      4. Where exposures exceed permissible limits, and;

      5. During maintenance and repair activities during brief or intermittent operations where engineering and work practice controls are not feasible or required.

    2. This document specifies standard procedures for respirator use. These procedures include all information and guidance necessary for the proper selection, use, and care of respirators. Where possible emergency and routine uses of respirators shall be anticipated and planned for.

    3. The correct respirator shall be specified for each job. The individual issuing them shall be adequately instructed to ensure that the correct respirator is issued.

    4. Dangerous atmospheres. Written procedures/checklists for specific routine tasks/jobs shall be prepared covering safe use of respirators in dangerous atmospheres that might be encountered in normal operations or in emergencies. Associates shall be made familiar with these procedures and the available respirators.(i.e. FM Confined Space Procedure IV:07.)

    5. In areas where the wearer, with failure of the respirator, could be overcome by a toxic or oxygen-deficient atmosphere, at least one additional person shall be present. Communications (visual, voice, or signal line) shall be maintained between both or all individuals present. Planning shall be such that one individual will be unaffected by any likely incident and have the proper rescue equipment to be able to assist the other(s) in case of emergency. (i.e. FM Confined Space Procedure IV:07.)

    6. When a self-contained breathing apparatus or hose masks with blowers are used in atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH), standby associates must be present with suitable rescue equipment.

    7. Associates using air line respirators in atmospheres immediately hazardous to life or health (IDLH) shall be equipped with safety harnesses and safety lines for lifting or removing persons from hazardous atmospheres or other and equivalent provisions for the rescue of persons from hazardous atmospheres shall be used. Standby associates with suitable self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) shall be at the nearest fresh air base for emergency rescue.


    1. Effective implementation of this program requires support from all levels of management within this department. This written program shall be communicated by the respective supervisors to all associates that are affected by it. It encompasses the total workplace, regardless of number of workers employed or the number of work shifts. It is designed to establish clear goals, and objectives.

    2. Engineering controls are required to control and or minimize the threat of occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective of this program shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials).


    Facilities Management will review and evaluate this procedure governing the selection and use of respirators on an annual basis, or when changes occur to 29 CFR 1910.134, that prompt revision of this document, or when facility operational changes occur that require a revision of this document.


    1. For safe use of any respirator, it is essential that our associates designated for these duties be properly instructed in its selection, use, and maintenance. Both supervisors and associates shall be so instructed. Training shall be provided by a qualified instructor (i.e. Center for Corporate Health or a supervisor who has received certification, or a qualified representative of a respirator manufacturer) and shall provide associates the opportunity to handle the respirator, have it fitted properly, test its face-piece seal, wear it in normal air for a long familiarity period, and, finally, to wear it in a test atmosphere.

    2. Fit instructions. Every respirator wearer shall receive fitting instructions including demonstrations and practice in how the respirator should be worn, how to adjust it, and how to determine if it fits properly. Respirators shall not be worn when conditions prevent a good face seal. Such conditions may be a growth of beard, sideburns, a skull cap that projects under the face-piece, or temple pieces on glasses. Also, the absence of one or both dentures can seriously affect the fit of a face-piece.

    3. Fit Evaluation (JMU). Periodic checks of associates while wearing respirators will be accomplished by the supervisor to ensure proper protection. This will be done in accordance with the manufacturer's face-piece fitting instructions.

    4. Hair/Apparel. If hair growth or apparel interfere with a satisfactory fit, then they shall be altered or removed so as to eliminate interference and allow a satisfactory fit. If a satisfactory fit is still not attained, the associate must use a positive-pressure respirator such as powered air-purifying respirators, supplied air respirator, or self-contained breathing apparatus.

    5. Corrective vision requirements (full-face respirators). Full-face respirators having provisions for optical inserts will be reviewed for use this company. These inserts when used will be used according to the manufacturers specification. When associates must wear optical inserts as part of the face-piece, the face-piece and lenses shall be fitted by qualified individuals to provide good vision, comfort, and a gas-tight seal. Facilities Management will provide corrective lenses for respirators based on optometry recommendations from an optometrist.

      1. Conventional eye glasses. Conventional eye glasses will not be used with full-face respirators. A proper seal cannot be established if the temple bars of eye glasses extend through the sealing edge of the full face-piece.

      2. Contact lenses. Contact lenses will not be used with full-face respirators. Wearing of contact lenses in contaminated atmospheres with a respirator shall not be allowed.

      3. If corrective spectacles or goggles are required, they shall be worn so as not to affect the fit of the face-piece. Proper selection of equipment will minimize or avoid this problem.

    6. Training shall be provided to each affected associate:

      1. Before the associate is first assigned duties that require respiratory protection.

      2. Before there is a change in assigned duties.

      3. Whenever there is a change in operations that presents a hazard for which an associate has not previously been trained.

      4. Whenever Facilities Management has reason to believe that there are deviations from established respiratory procedures required by this instruction or inadequacies in the associate's knowledge or use of these procedures.

    7. The training will address associate proficiency in the duties required by this procedure and shall introduce new or revised procedures, as necessary, for compliance with this procedure or when future revisions occur.

    8. Facilities Management shall certify that the training required by this section has been accomplished. The certification shall contain each associate's name, the signatures or initials of the trainer(s), and the dates of training. The certification shall be available for inspection by associates and their authorized representatives. The original of this signed documentation shall be forwarded to the FM Training Coordinator

    9. Training required before using Disposable Dust Masks.

      1. A medical Questionnaire (Attachment D) must be completed by the associate prior to use of a disposable mask. The questionnaire must be reviewed by the JMU Health Center before the wearing of a mask can be approved and a mask issued. If it is the opinion of the JMU Health Center that the wearing of a mask may aggravate a pre-existing medical condition, the associate will be sent for a Pulmonary Function Test at Facilities Management cost.

      2. Disposable masks are simple filtering devices. The masks are made of fibers that trap particles as you breath in through the filter. At the same time, the mask allows clean air to pass through the fibers so you can continue to breath normally and easily.

      3. These masks DO NOT protect against temperature extremes or if there is not enough oxygen.

      4. These masks are only approved for use by Facilities Management Associates to provide comfort in jobs such as sweeping ceramic or clay dust, cleaning up after a dry fire extinguisher has been discharged or working in other blowing dust/dirt.

      5. Fitting and use of Disposable Masks. Place the mask on your face with the strap behind your head. Pinch the metal nose clip to mold the mask to your face and ensure a snug fit. The shape of your face, facial hair, dentures, or a skin condition can all prevent a snug fit.

      6. Care of Disposable Masks. Disposable masks are designed to be thrown away after you use them. Dispose of your mask if it becomes clogged and makes breathing difficult. Request a new mask from your supervisor.

      7. Disposable Masks may only be obtained from the store room with the approval of your supervisor.

      8. Check List and Approvals

        1. Questionnaire filled out
        2. Medical Release signed
        3. Pulmonary Function Test required
          Date of test
          Physician Approval
        4. Fit Test completed
        5. Supervisor notified


    1. Equipment shall be properly maintained to retain its original state of effectiveness. Failure to properly maintain equipment will be part of performance reviews.

    2. Respirator inspection shall include but is not limited to the following:

      1. A check of the tightness of connections.

      2. Condition of the face-piece, headbands, valves, connecting tube, and canisters.

      3. Inspection of the Rubber or elastomer parts for pliability and signs of deterioration. Stretching and manipulating rubber or elastomer parts with a massaging action will keep them pliable and flexible and prevent them from taking a set during storage.

    3. Specific procedures for disassembly, cleaning and maintenance of respirators used by this company will be done according the manufacturers written instructions.

    4. Random inspections. Respiratory protection is no better than the respirator in use, even though it may be worn conscientiously. Frequent random inspections shall be conducted to assure that respirators are properly selected, used, cleaned, and maintained. The respirator manufacturers inspection criteria will be used as the basis for the inspections. The following associates are qualified to perform respirator inspections.

      1. Qualified Inspectors
        Date Qualified

      2. Inspection records shall be maintained in the Manager's Office.

    5. Records of original and replacement equipment issued are to include: issue date, name of associate issued to, name of person who issued the equipment, and the reason for issuance.

    6. Emergency Use Respirators. All respirators shall be inspected routinely before and after each use. A respirator that is not routinely used but is kept ready for emergency use shall be inspected after each use and at least monthly to assure that it is in satisfactory working condition. The respirator manufacturers inspection criteria will be used as the basis for the inspections. A record shall be kept of inspection dates and findings for respirators maintained for emergency use. Respirators maintained for emergency use shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

    7. Routine Use Respirators. All routine use respirators shall be inspected routinely before and after each use. The respirator manufacturers inspection criteria will be used as the basis for the inspection. Routinely used respirators shall be collected, cleaned, and disinfected as frequently as necessary to insure that proper protection is provided for the wearer.

    8. SCBA Inspections. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) shall be inspected monthly. Air and oxygen cylinders shall be fully charged according to the manufacturer's instructions. It shall be determined that the regulator and warning devices function properly.

    9. Replacement or Repairs. Replacement or repairs shall be done only by trained associates with parts designed for the respirator. No attempt shall be made to replace components or to make adjustment or repairs beyond the manufacturer's recommendations. Reducing or admission valves or regulators shall be returned to the manufacturer or to a trained technician for adjustment or repair.

    10. Storage Requirements. After inspection, cleaning, and necessary repair, respiratory protection equipment shall be carefully stored to protect against dust, sunlight, heat, extreme cold, excessive moisture, or damaging chemicals. Respirators should be packed or stored so that the face-piece and exhalation valve will rest in a normal position and function will not be impaired by the elastomer setting in an abnormal position.

      1. Emergency use respirators. Respirators placed at stations and work areas for emergency use should be quickly accessible at all times and will be stored in compartments built for the purpose. The compartments will be clearly marked. Instructions for proper storage of emergency respirators, such as gas masks and self-contained breathing apparatus, are found in "use and care" instructions usually mounted inside the carrying case lid.

      2. Routine use respirators. Routinely used respirators, such as dust respirators, may be placed in plastic bags. Respirators having removable cartridges with imbedded compounds that could evaporate into a sealed bag should be removed so as not to permeate into the rubber parts of the respirator. Respirators should not be stored in such places as lockers or tool boxes unless they are in carrying cases or cartons.

    11. Identification of chemical cartridges. The primary means of identifying a chemical cartridge is by means of labels. The secondary means is by a color code. All cartridges purchased or used by this company will be properly labeled and or colored coded in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134 before they are placed in service. The labels and colors will be properly maintained at all times until disposal. Cartridges having labels and colors not identifiable will be properly disposed of. To determine the type cartridge:

      1. Determine the following from the cartridge:

        1. Type of canister. Canister used for "X" contaminant or Type N Gas Mask Canister.

        2. "For respiratory protection in atmospheres containing not more than "X" percent by volume of "X" (Name of atmospheric contaminant).

        3. Radionuclides. Canisters having a special high efficiency filter for protection against radionuclides and other highly toxic particulates will have a label with a statement of the type and degree of protection afforded by the filter. The label will be affixed to the neck end of, or to the gray stripe which is around and near the top of, the canister. The degree of protection shall be marked as the percent of penetration of the canister by a 0.3 micron-diameter dioctyl phthalate (DOP) smoke at a flow rate of 85 liters per minute.

        4. Oxygen warning. Associates must be fully aware of the label warning that states that cartridge respirators should be used only in atmospheres containing sufficient oxygen to support life (at least 16 percent by volume), since cartridges are only designed to neutralize or remove contaminants from the air.

        5. Color coding. Each cartridge is painted a distinctive color or combination of colors indicated in Table I-1 (Attachment A). All colors used are of such a color that they are clearly identifiable by the user and clearly distinguishable from one another. The color coating offers a high degree of resistance to chipping, scaling, peeling, blistering, fading, and the effects of the ordinary atmospheres to which they may be exposed under normal conditions of storage and use.


    1. Where a specific OSHA standard exits. Each task/job having the potential for respiratory hazards will be evaluated to determine worker protection requirement. The specific OSHA standard will be consulted to determine delineated respiratory requirements. The standards are listed in the "Z" tables to 29 CFR 1910.1000-1101.

    2. Where a specific OSHA standard does not exit. The NIOSH respirator decision logic table from the "NIOSH guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection", Publication No. 87-116 (or subsequent versions) will be used. After all criteria have been identified and evaluated and after the requirements and restrictions of the respiratory protection program have been met, the class of respirators that should provide adequate respiratory protection will be determined.


    1. Facilities Management shall ensure that the respirator issued to the associate exhibits the least possible face-piece leakage and that the respirator is fitted properly. For each associate wearing negative pressure respirators, Facilities Management shall perform (or have performed by the Center For Corporate Health) either quantitative or qualitative face fit tests at the time of initial fitting and at least every six months thereafter. The qualitative fit tests may be used only for testing the fit of half mask respirators. (See attachment F.)

    2. Half-mask respirators. Facilities Management shall perform (or have performed) qualitative fit test protocols in accordance with the specific standard listed in the "Z" tables to 29 CFR 1910.1000-1101. Where a specific OSHA standard protocol does not exist, the "NIOSH guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection", Publication No. 87-116 (or subsequent versions) will be used.

    3. Minimum fit factor. Associates shall not be permitted to wear a half mask or full face-piece mask if a minimum fit factor of 100 or 1,000, respectively, cannot be obtained.

    4. Hair. Fit testing shall not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the skin and the face-piece sealing surface.

    5. Respiratory difficulty during tests. If an associate exhibits difficulty in breathing during the tests, she or he shall be referred to a physician trained in respiratory diseases or pulmonary medicine to determine whether the test subject can wear a respirator while performing her or his duties.

    6. Respirator use determination. The test subject shall be given the opportunity to wear the assigned respirator for one week. If the respirator does not provide a satisfactory fit during actual use, the test subject may request another fit test which shall be performed immediately.

    7. Respirator fit factor card. A respirator fit factor card shall be issued to the test subject with the following information, as a minimum:

      1. Name.

      2. Date of fit test.

      3. Protection factors obtained through each manufacturer, model and approval number of respirator tested.

      4. Name and signature of the person that conducted the test.

    8. Filter replacement. Filters used for qualitative or quantitative fit testing shall be replaced weekly, whenever increased breathing resistance is encountered, or when the test agent has altered the integrity of the filter media. Organic vapor cartridges/canisters shall be replaced daily or sooner if there is any indication of breakthrough by the test agent.

    9. Quantitative fit test, Re-test requirements. Because the sealing of the respirator may be affected, quantitative fit testing shall be repeated immediately when the test subject has a:

      1. Weight change of 20 pounds or more.

      2. Significant facial scarring in the area of the face-piece seal.

      3. Significant dental changes; i.e., multiple extractions without prosthesis, or acquiring dentures.

      4. Reconstructive or cosmetic surgery.

      5. Any other condition that may interfere with face-piece sealing.

    10. Fit test Record-keeping requirements. A summary of all test results shall be maintained for three (3) years. The summary shall as minimum include: (See attachment F.) A copy of this summary shall be forwarded to the FM Training Coordinator.

      1. Name of test subject.

      2. Date of testing.

      3. Name of the test conductor.

      4. Fit factors obtained from every respirator tested (indicate manufacturer, model, size and approval number).

Attachment A - Table I-1 from 29 CFR 1910.134 - pdf form

Attachment B - Respirator Inspection Record - pdf form

Attachment C - Initial Medical Questionnaire - pdf form

Attachment D - Periodic Medical Questionnaire - pdf form

Attachment E - Respiratory Medical Release Form - pdf form

Attachment F - Respiratory Fit Test and Respirator Issue - pdf form

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