A respirator care and maintenance system
must be established as part of the
respiratory protection program because
regular care and maintenance are important
to ensure that respirators continue to
function properly and provide necessary
protection to the user from the threat of
illness or death.
Respirator maintenance must include at
least the following procedures:
- Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Regular Inspections
- Care and Repair Methods
- Proper Storage
Cleaning and Disinfection Procedures:
Respiratory equipment must be regularly
cleaned and disinfected according to a
specified procedure (see Appendix
B-2 of the respiratory standard) or
according to manufacturer specifications.
The cleaning and disinfecting or
sanitizing frequency depends on work site
whether the employees share the equipment
or are issued respirators for their
Respirators issued for exclusive use must
be cleaned and disinfected after eight
hours of use, or as necessary to ensure
protection for the wearer (working in a
dusty environments for example may require
that the respirator face piece to be
cleaned more frequently).
Respirators used by more than one person
and emergency respirators must be cleaned
and disinfected after each use.
The employing department must ensure that
adequate facilities, appropriate training
and necessary equipment and supplies to
efficiently clean and disinfect
respirators are available .
Respirators must be inspected
routinely by employee before and after
each use. Specialized respirators
such as airline, SCBA or PAPR require
additional inspection, maintenance and
cleaning procedures see above. The
frequency of and procedures for
inspections depend on whether the
respirator is intended for non-emergency,
emergency, or escape-only use.
Respirators for emergency use must be
inspected after each use by the employees
to whom they are assigned, and once a
month if not used frequently.
Inspections of emergency respirators
should be done according to manufacturers'
All respirator inspections must include:
- A visual inspection to identify any
parts that may be missing, distorted,
blocked, loose, deteriorated, or
otherwise interfere with proper
- A check of elastomeric (rubber)
parts for signs of deterioration.
- Monthly ensure (SCBA) air cylinders
are available for immediate use and
are maintained in a fully charged
state (i.e., pressure is not below 90%
of manufacturer’s recommended level).
Regulators and low pressure warning
devices must be activated the to
ensure they function properly.
- Document the date of inspection,
name or signature of inspector,
inspection findings, any remedial
action required, and serial number or
other identification of the
- Retain this information with the
respirator, storage compartment, or
inspection report until next
certification. Tags may be used to
document the inspections.
Care and Repair Methods
Departments must arrange for replacement
or repairs by experienced persons, and
with NIOSH-approved parts designed for the
particular respirator being repaired and
per Manufacturer recommendations.
Attempt to replace components, make
adjustments or repairs beyond the
manufacturer's recommendations are not
allowed. Self-contained breathing
apparatus or air line respirators' valves,
regulators, and alarms must be adjusted,
tested, and/or repaired by a professional
repair service or the manufacturer only.
If a respirator does not pass inspection,
it must be removed from service
immediately to be either adjusted,
repaired or discarded. Tagging out
of service respirators is a good means for
ensuring that defective respirators are
not inadvertently used.
After inspection, cleaning, or necessary
repair, respirators must be stored in a
In addition, if a respirator is intended
for emergency use, it must be:
- Protects them from contamination,
dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures,
excessive moisture, damaging
chemicals, or other destructive
- Prevents the face-piece or valves
from becoming deformed.
- Follows all storage precautions
issued by the respirator manufacturer.
- Kept accessible to the work area,
but not in an area that may become
involved in an emergency and become
contaminated or inaccessible when
- Stored in a clearly labeled
container that is identifiable as
containing emergency equipment.