Respiratory Protection

General Requirements
Respirators are often needed to control employee exposure to harmful dusts, fumes, mists, gases, or vapors. Respirators provide protection only when fitted properly, and only when the proper filters or cartridges.

Employees must be provided proper equipment for the job, and trained to use and maintain that equipment properly.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134

Keys to Compliance for Supervisors

Frequently asked questions

Q. Do dust masks provide respiratory protection?
A. In general, no. They may be partially effective at trapping large particles, but do not protect against fine particles, mists, vapors, and gases.

Q. What is an N-95 respirator?
A. An N-95 respirator is a face mask, which, when properly fitted and used, will protect the wearer from inhaling 95% of particles greater than 5 microns. These were originally intended for use in medical facilities to protect against certain bacteria. They are not effective protection against fine particles, mists, vapors, and gases. They are not designed for a gas-tight fit.

Q. How do I know if my filter / cartridge is losing effectiveness.
A. If breathing becomes difficult or the wearer can “smell” outside contaminants, the unit should be replaced. When working with toxic materials, a maximum exposure time can be calculated, based on information provided with the cartridge.

Links to written programs, further information