Respiratory Protection Standard

Permissible Practice

To control occupational diseases brought by breathing in air that contains harmful agents such as pathogens, dust, smoke, etc. avoiding air contamination should be the main goal. Control measures example room ventilation, putting in place less toxic substances in the workplace and were inevitable respirators should be put in place.

Respirators should be provided by the employer for every employee working under inevitably contaminated workstation. The employer should also establish and maintain a respiration protection program discussed later on.

Provisions by Employer in Hazardous Environment

The employer should also provide the following:  air-purifying respirator, canister or cartridge, demand respirator, escape only respirator, filtering face piece, fit factor, fit test, helmet, hood, loose-fitting face piece, interior structural firefighting, negative pressure respirator, power air-purifying respirator, pressure demand respirator, qualitative fit test, respiratory inlet covering, self-contained breathing apparatus and a supplied air respirator.

Respiratory Protection Program

The employer should write and implement a respiratory protection program for required respirator use and a trained program administrator should administer the program. Copies of Small Entity Compliance Guidance are available in Occupation Health Administration office of Publication, Washington, DC.

Respirators should be provided by the employer were in need by employees and will also put in place and implement a respiratory protection scheme containing worksite involving steps. The scheme should include: how to select respirators for the workplace, evaluations for employees that need respirators, tight fitting respirators procedures,  procedures for use of respirators in emergencies, how to clean, discarding ,disinfecting, repairing, inspecting and maintaining respirators, Procedures on how to ensure enough air for atmospheric-supplying respirators, Teaching employees the respiratory dangers  to which they may be exposed to during job and emergency cases, Teaching employees the  use of respirators, any limitations encountered when using them, how to maintain them and procedures for evaluating working of the of the scheme. Incase respirators are not needed the employer should provide respirators incase needed by an employee or permit them to bring their respirators. The employer shall also provide respirators and training to their employers at no charge.

Selection of respirators

Employers are to evaluate hazards in a workplace and provide needed respirator according to the respiratory dangers in place example respirators for both atmospheres that are IDLH and those that are not. Employers shall also assign protection factors and maximum use concentration to conditions that re hazardous.

Medical Evaluation

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Employers should evaluate medical conditions of employees that require using a respirator by using a physician or licensed health care professional for the evaluation. The employer may also administer a medical questionnaire and exam.

Fit Testing

Fit testing of workers with a respirator of suitable shape and size example a tight fitting face piece respirator.

Use of Respirators

Employers are to put in place procedures for using respirators. Employees with facial hair that comes to sealing surface should not be allowed to use tight fitting face pieces. One or more employees should be located in IDLH atmosphere and communication between employees in IDLH atmosphere and those outside IDLH atmosphere. Employees outside IDLH atmosphere should be trained on how to handle emergency rescues and the employer should provide assistance in the case. Employees outside IDLH are to be equipped with: pressure. Employees should also provide procedures for interior firefighting structures.

Maintenance and Care of Respirators

The employer should maintain and clean the respirators and also disinfect them each after every use. The employer should make sure the respirators are stored to prevent them from damage and easily accessible and in accordance to manufacturer’s instructions. The respirators should also undergo inspection before use and also during cleaning and should also be inspected and repaired in time.

Quality Breathing Air

The employer should provide clean breathing gas for workers who use atmosphere supplying respirators example compressed and liquid oxygen. When using oil lubricated compressors, high temperature or carbon monoxide alarms are to be put in place.

Identifying Filters, Cartridges and canisters

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Apart from identification, labeling and color coding should also meet NIOSH requirements.

Training and Information

Employers who are to use respirators are to be trained comprehensively on proper use and maintenance. Example is on the respiratory use in emergency situations. The employer should also evaluate the employees to find out if they are comfortable in using the respirators.

Record Keeping

The employer should keep written information on health conditions of their workers to facilitate employee involvement in respirator program.

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