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Site Specific Plan Template

Program Administrator

Hazard Assessment

Medical Evaluation

Respirator Selection

Respirator Fit Testing

Respirator Maintenance

Respiratory Protection Training

Record Keeping

Voluntary Use of Respirators
Animal Allergen Control Plan

OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard (29CFR 1910.134)

Respiratory Protection Adviser



To protect the health of respirator wearers, to ensure compliance with State and Federal Regulations, and to prevent respirator misuse.

General respiratory protection requirements are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 29 CFR 1910.134; additional requirements are found in industry and substance specific worker protection standards.  A specific requirement takes priority over general requirements.

Scope and Application

This program applies to all University of Minnesota Duluth employees who are required either by OSHA, or by their Department to wear respirators during normal work operations, and during some non-routine or emergency operations such as a spill of a hazardous substance.
Employee using light weight, filtering dust masks as part of their duties ( to protect against animal allergens, or biological agents) will also be required to comply with program requirements.

In addition, any employee who voluntarily wears a reusable respirator (when respirator is not required by either the employer, or OSHA) is also subject to the medical evaluation, fit testing cleaning, maintenance, and storage elements of the program, and must be provided with information specified in the (voluntary use) section of the program.

Respirators may be used at the University of Minnesota to prevent exposure to airborne hazards exceeding the Threshold Limit Value (TLV), the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) or which ever the lowest.  They are used only as the last alternative and only when other hazard control methods such as dedicated local exhaust or area ventilation are not feasible.

Program Responsibilities

University Departments with Employees Using or Required to Use Respirators
Environmental Health and Safety:
University Occ. Med/Medical Provider:
  • Medical certification of employee fitness

Voluntary vs. Required Use of Respirators

Full Respiratory Protection Program compliance is mandatory when any respirator use (including lightweight, single-use respirators also called dust masks or filtering face pieces) is required either by the employer or by OSHA to prevent employee exposure from exceeding the Threshold Limit Value (TLV), or the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL),  and Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) of a particular substance, or to prevent exposures to known airborne allergen and infectious pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Respirator use is voluntary when respirators are worn in areas where airborne concentrations of air contaminants are below the TLV or PEL, or when employees wish to wear a respirator to control non-occupational conditions such as allergies.   These are situations where OSHA does not require the use of a respirator and respirator misuse is not likely. 

When reusable or light weight disposable respirators are provided to employees for voluntary use, departments must ensure their employees
  • are trained on proper use and maintenance of respirators.
  • read the information in the "Voluntary Use of Respirators", and
  • are physically able to wear negative pressure reusable respirators and are included in the medical monitoring portion of the respiratory protection program.

Full Program Compliance Description

Full program compliance requires departments/employers to:
  • Designate a Program Administrator (this may be someone already assigned as a department Safety Coordinator or a Supervisor) (See program administrator qualification).

  • Complete the written Site-Specific Respiratory Protection Plan

  • Conduct a Job Hazard Analysis to identify the respiratory hazard of concern, and request an evaluation and estimation of potential employee exposure.

  • Complete a written Task-Specific Safe Operating Procedure, for every task requiring the use of respiratory protection and the use of hazardous substances or equipment (see SOP template).

  • Have employee fill out and send "Medical Evaluation Questionnaire For General Use" and assign workers to tasks requiring the use of a respirator only after a physician or other licensed health care professional has evaluated the employee's health.
    (The medical provider will first screen written responses to the questionnaire and then follow up with a physical examination whenever screening raises questions about the worker's health).

  • Select appropriate respirators, Respirator Selection will be made by the site program Administrator  in cooperation with DEHS staff and the employee using the respirator.  The health care professional recommendation, the Hazard Assessment and Air Monitoring results if necessary will be the determining factor on the type of respirator selected.

  • Initially and annually fit test or (depending on the hazards and respirators used) arrange for an Env. Health and Safety Technician to fit test the respirator assigned to workers, to assure adequate face seal is obtained (see Respirator Fit Testing Procedure for guidance).

  • Provide a place to clean, disinfect and dry the respirator (see Respirator Maintenance Procedure); also, a clean place to store them must be provided.  The respiratory program administrator must assure that the respirators are appropriately maintained and repaired or replaced as needed.

  • Train workers on the use, fit, care and limitations of respirators.  Retraining is required annually, or anytime after a workplace change or when an employee indicates a deficiency of understanding.

  • Ensure all employees using respirators voluntarily comply with the department's site specific plan and the "Voluntary Use of Respirators".

Governing Regulations

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.