The Catholic University of America

Environmental Health & Safety Manual

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10 - RESPIRATORY PROTECTION PROGRAM

Section Contents

10.1 INTRODUCTION
10.2 PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
10.3 ASSESSING THE NEED FOR RESPIRATORY PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
10.4 MEDICAL EVALUATIONS
10.5 RESPIRATOR SELECTION
10.6 FIT-TESTING
10.7 RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS
10.8 SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS
10.9 RESPIRATOR PROGRAM ATTACHMENTS/CHECKLISTS

 


10.1

INTRODUCTION

This program provides a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the safe use of respiratory protective equipment and is to be observed by all CUA Faculty, Staff and Students.

The most effective way to control potentially hazardous air contaminants is through sound equipment design, effective ventilation, and careful use of materials that can generate airborne contaminants. Rely on respirators to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants only if these engineering and administrative controls fail to maintain safe exposure levels.

10.2

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Department of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) is responsible for administering and otherwise maintaining an effective CUA respiratory protection program. Specifically, EHS:

  • Evaluates potential Health & Safety hazards upon request of individuals or upon EHS discretion.
  • Recommends engineering/administrative controls, when reasonable, in preference to respiratory protection.
  • Assists in selecting appropriate respiratory protection.
  • Conducts periodic audits of the CUA Respiratory Protection Program and informs accountable parties of actions to take to correct deficiencies.
Kellie Hindman, Industrial Hygienist, is CUA's Respiratory Protection Program Administrator, phone 202-319-4461 or e-mail: hindman@cua.edu.

Department Chairs/Directors are responsible for implementing this program for their areas of responsibility. Specifically, they must ensure all appropriate personnel are made aware of and comply with CUA respiratory protection requirements.

Supervisors are responsible for direct implementation of this program, with technical assistance from EHS. Supervisors must:

  • Oversee work sites and employee work practices to minimize airborne exposures and reduce airborne contaminants by engineering controls, substitution of materials, or administrative controls in order to reduce or eliminate the need for respiratory protection.
  • Conduct a hazard evaluation of suspected health hazards to determine best means of control. (EHS will assist in this evaluation upon request.)
  • Review hazard assessments and the information in this procedure, or contact EHS for technical assistance, in order to determine compliance with the respiratory protection program and selecting respiratory protection equipment.
  • Ensure employees receive appropriate training.
  • Prohibit employees from wearing respiratory protection until all procedures and guidelines for required use and voluntary use of respiratory protection have been completed.
  • Regularly check that workers properly wear, clean, maintain, and store respirators.
  • Never permit an employee to enter an IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) atmosphere. Never permit an employee to enter an unknown atmosphere until it has been rendered safe.
Employees are responsible for complying with the requirements of this program:

  • Participate in required training prior to wearing a respirator.
  • Use respirators in accordance with these procedures and manufacturers' recommendations.
  • Properly wear, clean, maintain, and store respirators.
  • Notify your supervisor of conditions in which you feel you are being overly exposed to an airborne contaminant.
  • Never enter an IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) or unknown atmosphere until it has been rendered safe.


10.3

ASSESSING THE NEED FOR RESPIRATORY PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

A job hazard assessment will determine if respiratory protection is needed. Initial hazard assessments were completed for all work sites and were distributed to departments. Contact EHS if a new work procedure is developed or any other change in work conditions occur that may produce a hazard requiring a new hazard assessment.

Flow charts and checklists at the end of this procedure will guide you in the selection and use of respiratory protection.

10.4

MEDICAL EVALUATIONS
Before employees may wear cartridge-type air purifying respirators (either voluntary use or required use), they must receive a medical examination at no cost to them. Voluntary use of filtering face pieces (dust masks) do not require a medical evaluation. View the following to assist you in the steps required for medical evaluations:


All persons that have been medically approved to wear a respirator must complete the medical evaluation form annually. Forms must be completed confidentially and mailed or presented to a preselected health care professional.

10.5

RESPIRATOR SELECTION

Respirators are designed to protect against specific air contaminants. Different respirators protect against different contaminants. Also, cartridge-type respirators are available in a number of sizes and styles. No one respirator will fit all people. Using the wrong respirator may provide little or no protection and may cause illness or injury. Review the Respirator Selection Checklist and consult EHS to select the right respirator.


10.6

FIT-TESTING

Respirator fit-testing is required when OSHA regulations or your department require the use of cartridge type respirators. Contact EHS to schedule fit-testing. Fit tests are recorded on the Respirator Fit Test Record form. Persons voluntarily wearing respirators may also schedule fit-testing through EHS.

Note: Respirators are assigned exclusively for your use. Do not exchange respirators with someone else.

10.7

RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS

CUA personnel are not authorized to wear respiratory protection while working with radioactive materials under this program. Respiratory protection for use with radioactive materials must be coordinated with the Radiation Safety Officer.

10.8

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Facial Hair: To get a good face to facepiece seal and ensure maximum protection, be clean- shaven when wearing a respirator. A beard, long sideburns, mustache, or stubble interferes with the facepiece seal.

Eye Glasses: If you wear eye glasses and must wear a full-facepiece respirator, corrective lenses can be mounted inside the facepiece. This should enable you to obtain a good fit. Generally, wearing eye glasses or protective goggles does not disturb the seal of a half-facepiece respirator.

Clothing: Do not wear clothing or head covering between the face and facepiece. Put hoods, hats and other head coverings on after putting on your respirator.

10.9

RESPIRATOR PROGRAM ATTACHMENTS/CHECKLISTS

Use the following as guides in your departments's respiratory protection program: