When a respiratory hazard is present in the work environment, and when the hazard cannot be controlled by other means, respiratory protection may be utilized. OSHA mandates that SMU establish and maintain a Respiratory Protection Program in compliance with 29 CFR 1910.134.
Respirator use can be divided into two categories: Required Use and Voluntary Use. Respirator use is REQUIRED when any of the following conditions exist:
- EHS and the employee’s or student’s supervisor have identified and evaluated respiratory hazards and determined the need for respiratory protection,
- Employees or students are working in areas where respiratory conditions may become unsafe without warning, such as in emergency response situations or situations where exposures cannot be identified or estimated,
- Significant levels of infectious biological contaminants may become aerosolized, or
- Employees are engaged in activities that are addressed in other EHS policies such as asbestos, certain other chemical, biological, or radiological hazards, or for confined space entry, which require the use of respiratory protection.
University employees or students may choose to use a respirator on a VOLUNTARY basis during activities that involve exposures to low-level, non-hazardous nuisance odor, dust, or other similar particulates.
The category of respirator use, as described above, and the type of respirator chosen, determine the appropriate Respiratory Protection Program procedure. Please refer to the flow chart and program description below.
Appendix D Notification
If an employee or student chooses to use a filtering face piece respirator (also referred to as an N95 or N99 disposable dust mask) on a VOLUNTARY basis, The University will provide a copy of the information shown in the Voluntary Use of Respirators document to any and all individuals affected.
Abbreviated Respiratory Protection Program
If an employee or student chooses to use any respirator OTHER than a filtering face piece respirator on a VOLUNTARY basis, The University will provide a copy of the information shown in the Voluntary Use of Respirators document to any and all individuals affected. In addition, the affected individual must complete an initial medical evaluation, training, and appropriate respirator selection, inspection, and maintenance.
Full Respiratory Protection Program
Employees and students who are REQUIRED to wear any respirator, due to the aforementioned conditions, will conform to all elements of the federally-mandated Respiratory Protection Program, including:
- Initial medical evaluation,
- Annual training,
- Appropriate respirator selection, inspection, and maintenance,
- Annual fit testing, and
- Proper facial hair grooming.
All medical evaluation and fit testing activities will take place at Nova Medical Center, the contracted Occupational Medicine provider for SMU. Medical evaluations and fit testing will be the financial responsibility of the Office of Risk Management. Failure to comply with program requirements can lead to administrative penalties, confiscation of equipment, and substantial federal fines.