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OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard (29CFR 1910.134)

Respiratory Protection Adviser


Respirator Selection - 29 CFR 1910.134(d)(1)(i) - (d)(3)(iv)

All University departments whose employees are required to use respirators during normal work hours because of department policy, or OSHA Standard requirements, must select and provide those employees with appropriate respirators to be used on site based on the respiratory hazard(s) to which they are exposed, in accordance with OSHA standards as well as workplace and user-specific Characteristics that may impact the respirator performance and reliability.

Prior to selecting respirators, the Program Administrator must conduct a hazard evaluation for each operation, process, or work area where airborne contaminants may be present in routine operations, or during an emergency to:
  • Identify and develop a list of hazardous substances used at the site, for each operation or work process, to include the nature of the hazard, e.g. toxicity, chemical and physical properties.
  • Review work processes to determine where potential exposures of identified hazardous
    substances may occur. 
  • Conduct exposure monitoring to quantify extent of potential hazardous exposure (concentration) and time of exposure (a DEHS Industrial Hygienist will provide monitoring when needed).
Respirators must be selected from a sufficient number of respirator models and sizes so that the respirator is acceptable to and correctly fits the employee.  

All selected respirators must be NIOSH-certified and must be used in compliance with the conditions of certification, and based on:
  • The employee health and ability to wear a respirator
  • Work requirements and conditions
  • Characteristics and limitations of the respirators (see manufacturer condition)
Areas where estimates of the employee exposure cannot be reasonably identified, the department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS) must be contacted immediately, and the area atmosphere shall be considered to be Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health IDLH.

Note: Respirators issued to prevent overexposure to applicable health standards must be equipped with an End of Service Life Indicator (ESLI). If an ESLI is not available, then the written SOP must inform the user about when to change the respirator or install new cartridges.

For further assistance on how to select proper respirators contact the UMD Environmental Health and Safety Office 726-7273.

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