1. Safety Coordinators
2. Supervisors
3. Employees
4. Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management (OSHEM)


1. Initial Assessment
2. Follow-up Assessments


1. Engineering and Administrative Controls
2. Respirator Selection
3. Respirator Use
4. Air Supplied Respirators
5. Respirators for Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) Atmospheres
6. Voluntary Use of Respiratory Protective Equipment
7. Cleaning and Storage.






Attachment 1 - Smithsonian Institution Respirator Authorization Request
Attachment 2 - Identifying when a Respirator is Needed
Attachment 3 - Respirator Cartridge Change Schedule
Attachment 4 - Information for Employees Using Filtering Facepiece Respirators



1. The purpose of a Respiratory Protection Program is to protect those SI employees performing tasks/operations for which inhalation exposures cannot be controlled by use of engineering or administrative controls.

2. This Chapter applies to all Smithsonian Institution (SI) tasks/operations that may require the use of respiratory protection, including Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) and emergency conditions. This Chapter also addresses the voluntary use of respirators.

3. This Chapter also serves as the SI written Respiratory Protection Program, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Standard 1910.134, "Respiratory Protection," and as such, requires that respiratory protective equipment be selected, used, maintained, and stored in accordance with this Standard.

4. SI will provide the recommended and approved respirator equipment at no cost to employees enrolled in the respiratory protection program.



1. Safety Coordinators shall:

a. Assist supervisors identify employees and job tasks that may pose respiratory hazards.

b. Coordinate with the Office of Safety, Health and Environmental Management (OSHEM) to conduct employee exposure assessments and determination of controls needed, including the use of respirators.

c. As necessary, based on OSHEM recommendations, forward "Respiratory Authorization Requests" (Attachment 1) to OSHEM for enrollment into the SI Respiratory Protection Program. Coordinate with OSHEM to ensure supervisors and affected employees participate in respiratory protection program and maintain current with their training and medical certifications.

2. Supervisors shall:

a. Conduct Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs) in accordance with Chapter 4, Safety Risk Management Program", of this Manual to identify tasks and employees with inhalation hazards that may require exposure assessments and control recommendations.

b. Coordinate, through the Safety Coordinator, for OSHEM to conduct employee exposure monitoring of these tasks. If respirator use is recommended, initiate a "Respiratory Authorization Request" (Attachment 1) and route the request through the Facility Safety Coordinator for approval.

c. Ensure employees are approved by OSHEM to wear a respirator (i.e., receive a medical evaluation, training and fit testing) prior to working at tasks where respirators are required.

d. Ensure appropriate respiratory protective equipment is available for each affected employee, per OSHEM fit-testing recommendations, and document this on the "PPE Issuance Sheet," in accordance with Chapter 17, "Personal Protective Equipment," of this Manual.

e. Ensure affected employees are wearing respiratory protective equipment during all tasks where it is required and are performing regular cleaning, maintenance, and inspection of the respirators.

g. Implement a Respirator Cartridge Change Schedule (See Attachment 2).

h. Notify the Safety Coordinator concerning any hazard or process change that may affect respiratory protection requirements, so that OSHEM may re-evaluate exposures and control requirements.

3. Employees shall:

a. Participate in medical evaluations, respiratory protective equipment training and fit-testing.

b. Wear respiratory protective equipment as directed by the supervisor, based on results of a Job Hazard Analysis and exposure monitoring.

c. Inspect, clean, and maintain assigned respiratory protective equipment.

d. Notify the supervisor when new or replacement respiratory protective equipment may be needed due to wear or damage.

e. Notify the supervisor of changes to work processes, which may affect the effectiveness of the issued respirator or of medical conditions that may limit the ability to wear a respirator.

4. Office of Safety, Health and Environmental Management (OSHEM) shall:

a. Serve as the SI respiratory program administrator in accordance with OSHA Standard 1910.134.

b. Conduct work place exposure monitoring and provide the Safety Coordinator and supervisors with assistance in the evaluation of respiratory hazards.

c. Evaluate "Respiratory Authorization Requests" and select appropriate respiratory protective equipment for requestor.

d. Conduct medical evaluations to determine employee's ability to wear respiratory protective equipment. Provide a written recommendation of the medical evaluation and maintain all medical records in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134.

e. Conduct required training in the proper use and care of respiratory protective equipment and fit testing in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134.

f. Select and recommend respiratory protective equipment that properly fits each affected employee and communicate results to each affected employee, supervisor, and Safety Coordinator.



1. Initial Assessment:

a. Each supervisor will assess the job, task, or work areas under their control (with assistance from the Safety Coordinator) for operations that may require the use of respiratory protection equipment. Information to be used in this analysis will include:

(1) The JHA process, MSDS review, and other tasks assessments (see Attachment 1, 'Potential Inhalation Hazards').

(2) Recognized regulated operations (e.g., asbestos/lead based paint / pesticide mixing-application / spray painting and abrasive blasting).

(3) Results of exposure monitoring (refer to Chapter 39, "Exposure Assessment and Medical Surveillance" , of this Manual).

b. To assist in the identification of inhalation hazards, the Safety Coordinator and/or the supervisor are to request employee exposure monitoring from OSHEM.

c. OSHEM shall provide, to the supervisor and Safety Coordinator, written results of employee exposure monitoring and recommended control measures, which may include enrollment into the respiratory protection program.

2. Follow-up Assessments: Changes to work place operations or tasks may require an exposure re-assessment to determine continued need for, or changes in type of, respiratory protection.



1. Engineering and Administrative Controls. Engineering controls shall be the primary means to control airborne inhalation hazards in the work place, by isolation or removal (exhaust), whenever feasible. Administrative controls may be used, separate from or in conjunction with engineering controls, to limit employees' exposure to airborne inhalation hazards.

2. Respirator Selection

a. The organization shall provide respirators to employees identified as requiring enrollment in the respiratory protection program.

(1) Only respirators approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shall be used.

(2) Respirators shall be selected based on the following criteria of the "NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic 2004." NIOSH Publication No. 2005-100:

(a) Regulated requirements

(b) Nature and duration of operation or process.

(c) Types and concentrations of airborne contaminates including conditions that are immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH).

(d) Emergency or escape situations

(e) Employee restrictions

b. Adequate supplies of cartridges/filters and parts shall be available. All cartridges and filters used in Air Purifying Respirators (APR) will be approved by NIOSH and will match the type and model of mask in use.

(1) If the cartridge does not have an 'End of Service Life Indicator' (ESLI), a cartridge/filter change-out schedule must be determined (see Attachment 3).

(2) Cartridges/filters must be selected to protect the user from the specific hazard identified. These cartridges will have a label its indicating approved uses.

3. Respirator Use

a. Employees shall be issued respirator models and sizes that match those identified by OSHEM on the fit test record, and recommended by OSHEM in its written report of training and fit-testing.

b. Special eyeglass inserts designed for the respirator shall be provided by the facility and at no cost to the employee, if an employee must wear eyeglasses with a full face-piece respirator (see Chapter 17, "Personal Protective Equipment ," of this Manual for SI procedures on obtaining safety eyewear.)

c. Contact lenses may be worn when wearing a full face-piece respirator.

d. Facial hair is prohibited where the respirator-sealing surface meets the wearer's face.

e. Employees are required to perform a positive and negative fit check each time a tight fitting respirator is worn.

f. Employees shall be responsible for inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining assigned respiratory protective equipment. Employees may also be held accountable for respiratory protective equipment that is lost, stolen, or damaged due to neglect.

g. Inspection Before Each Use: Before each use, ensure the right respiratory protective equipment is being used for the job. Inspect it for wear, damage and check to see if the filters or cartridges are clogged or not filtering properly. Refer to section E, Required inspections and self assessments, for inspection requirements.

h. Employees must not remove their respirators for any reason while still in the hazardous work area. Employees are to leave the area with the respirator on:

(1) Before removing the respirator for any reason.

(2) To change cartridges/canisters.

(3) If any of the following is detected: Vapor/gas breakthrough, nausea, weakness, coughing, or shortness of breath.

i. Recognizing an Emergency: If the respiratory protective equipment has an indicator or alarm, ensure it is operating properly. Be alert for the following danger signals, and leave the area immediately if any of these problems develop:

(1) Breathing becomes more difficult. The filter or cartridge may be clogged.

(2) Detecting any odor, taste, or irritation that may indicate the contaminant is getting inside your respirator.

(3) The respirator becomes severely uncomfortable.

(4) Experiencing symptoms of illness, such as dizziness,

j. Supervisors shall maintain surveillance of work area conditions and the degree of employee exposure or stress. When there is a change in work area conditions or degree of employee exposure or stress that may affect respirator effectiveness, the supervisor shall reevaluate the continued effectiveness of the respirator.

4. Air Supplied Respirators

a. Air used for atmosphere-supplying respirators must meet or exceed the requirements for Type 1 - Grade D breathing air. Oxygen must never be used.

b. A certificate of analysis must accompany bottled air.

c. Compressors used to supply breathing air must:

(1) Prevent entry of contaminated air into the air supply.

(2) Minimize moisture content.

(3) Have suitable in-line sorbent beds and filter to provide appropriate air quality.

(4) Have a high carbon monoxide alarm that sounds at 10 ppm.

d. Couplings on air hose lines must be incompatible with other gas systems.

5. Respirators for Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) Atmospheres .

a. All oxygen-deficient atmospheres (less than 19.5% oxygen), are considered IDLH. The following respirators shall be used in IDLH atmospheres:

(1) A full-face-piece pressure-demand self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) certified by NIOSH for a minimum service life of thirty minutes, or

(2) A combination full-face-piece pressure-demand supplied-air respirator (SAR) with auxiliary self-contained air supply.

b. Respirators provided only for escape from IDLH atmospheres shall be NIOSH-certified for escape from the atmosphere in which they will be used.

6. Voluntary Use of Respiratory Protective Equipment Whenever a hazard is recognized and respiratory protective equipment is required, employees shall be provided with the appropriate respiratory protective equipment. However, if respiratory protective equipment is not required, respirator use must first be approved by OSHEM after consultation with the employee, supervisor and safety coordinator. If voluntary use is approved, the individual must comply with the requirements, roles and responsibilities of this Chapter including medical evaluation, fit testing and training.

Filtering Facepieces- Employees voluntarily using dust masks may choose a dust mask for comfort. Training is required on the appropriate uses for the filtering facepieces; but, no medical evaluation or fit testing is required unless the filtering facepiece is being required by SI for an identified or potential work place hazard. Training on voluntary use will be conducted by OSHEM. Refer to Attachment 3 and 4.

This section applies to the voluntary use of disposable filtering face-pieces (dust masks), provided by the supervisor.

7. Cleaning and Storage

a. When respiratory protective equipment is not properly cleaned and/or maintained, its fit and operation may be adversely affected. Respiratory protective equipment shall be inspected, cleaned, maintained, and stored by employees as specified by the manufacturer and OSHA standards.

b. The care of respiratory protective equipment shall include:

(1) Cleaning;

(2) Sanitizing;

(3) Rinsing;

(4) Drying;

(5) Reassembly; and

(6) Inspection prior to use.

(7) Cleaning may be performed as often as required.

c. Atmosphere supplying and emergency use respirators shall be cleaned and sanitized after each use. Respirators must be cleaned and sanitized before it may be transferred to another individual.

d. When storing a respirator, even overnight, first flex the rubber parts to make sure they are not twisted or bent. Then seal the respirator in a plastic bag and store the bagged respirator where it will be protected. Protect the respirator from dust, sunlight, extreme heat and cold, moisture, damaging chemicals and physical damage.Clean and secure storage facilities shall be provided.



1. Employees who are assigned respiratory protective equipment shall first be medically qualified, trained and fit-tested before using the equipment.

2 Program Entry Process:

a. Supervisors shall be responsible for identifying employees who may require entry into the SI Respiratory Protection Program, based on results of the JHA. A "Respiratory Authorization Request" (Attachment 1) shall be initiated and forwarded by the Safety Coordinator to OSHEM for exposure assessment and respirator equipment recommendation.

b. A medical evaluation shall be scheduled through OSHEM Occupational Health Services Division (OHSD) to determine the employee's ability to wear respiratory protective equipment.

3. Medical Evaluation. Employees shall not be assigned a task requiring the use of respiratory protective equipment, and employees shall not be certified as a respirator user until OSHEM/OHSD has determined that the employee is medically fit to wear respiratory protective equipment while performing work. This determination shall be made by a physician or licensed health care professional (PLHCP). The scope and content of the medical evaluation shall comply with the mandatory medical questionnaire set forth in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix D, and shall include an evaluation of significant interim changes in the employee's health history from previous evaluations.


F. TRAINING Training on the correct fit, use, care, and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment is crucial. If training is not completed, protection will not be provided or will be minimized and exposure to hazards may result.

1. Upon completion of the medical evaluation certification, OSHEM shall conduct respiratory protection training and fit-testing. Refer to Section G for fit test information. Fit-testing shall not be conducted for staff that has not completed medical certification requirements

2. Initial Training. Respiratory protective equipment training shall be provided by OSHEM for each employee who is required to use respiratory protective equipment. As a minimum, employees shall receive the following training:

a. Explanation of planned engineering controls, and/or why it may not be feasible to use engineering controls to reduce or eliminate the need for respiratory protective equipment.

b. Why respiratory protective equipment is necessary, and what type should be selected.

c. The limitations and capabilities of each class of respiratory protective equipment.

d. Recognition of situations where cartridges/canisters/filters need to be replaced (e.g., tasting/smelling contaminants, manufacturer's expiration date, increased breathing resistance, ESLIs and change out schedule).

e. How to recognize emergency situations and how to use respiratory protective equipment effectively in an emergency situation

f. How to properly put on and wear respiratory protective equipment, and checking its fit and operation.

g. How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent effective use of respiratory protective equipment.

h. The need to inform your supervisor of any problems experienced when wearing a respirator, and of any defects or broken parts in the respirator.

i. The proper care, cleaning, and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment;

j. Where to store respiratory protective equipment when not in use.

3 Respiratory Protective Equipment Retraining. Circumstances where retraining is required include (but are not limited to):

a. Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete.

b. Changes in the types of respiratory protective equipment to be used render previous training obsolete.

c. Inadequacies in an employee's knowledge or use of assigned respiratory protective equipment indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.

4. Annual Training Recertification , Training and Fit-testing. To remain current and approved to wear a respirator in the workplace, each employee shall be recertified as a respirator user through an annual medical certification examination and training and fit-testing through OSHEM.

5. Training Documentation and Verification. OSHEM shall send a written report of certification, training, fit-testing results, and certification expiration date to each employee and their supervisor and Safety Coordinator. The Safety Coordinator shall verify that each affected employee has received the required respiratory protective equipment and understood the training.



1. Respirator users are to be fit-tested:

a. When the employee is assigned a respirator.

b. On an annual basis (no more than one year may elapse between fit tests)

c. When the employee is assigned a respirator of a different make, type or size from that previously tested.

2. Fit-testing will be performed by OSHEM.

3. A signed written copy of the fit test results shall be obtained by the employee, supervisor and Safety Coordinator. The fit test record shall include:

a. Employee's name and social security number or employee number;

b. Respirator brand, model and size fitted for;

c. Date of fit-test;

d. Method of fit-testing used;

e. Manufacturer and serial number of fit testing apparatus if quantitative fit test is employed.

f. Name and signature of fit-tester; and

g. Statement that fit test protocol met the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.134.



1. Medical evaluation certification, exposure assessment reports and related JHA information, will be maintained by OSHEM for duration of employment plus 30 years, for each employee required to wear respiratory protective equipment.

2. Training and fit-test records will be maintained by the facility for a minimum of 5 years.

3. All respirators maintained for use in emergency situations shall be inspected at least monthly in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. Documentation of inspections for respirators maintained for emergency use shall be provided on a tag or label attached to the storage compartment for the respirator, kept with the respirator, or included in inspection reports stored as paper or electronic files.



1. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), "Suggested Respirator Cleaning and Sanitation Procedures." September 2001. www.cdc.gov/niosh/respcln.html

2. CDC, NIOSH, "NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic 2004." NIOSH Publication No. 2005-100. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-100/default.html

3. D.L. Cyr and S.B. Johnson, Ph.D. National Ag Safety Database (NASD), University of Maine Cooperative Extension, "Care of Respirators." NASD Review 04/2002. NASD: Care of Respirators

4. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134, "Respiratory Protection Standard."

5. OSHA, "Respiratory Protection Advisor: Respirator Change Schedules,' www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/respiratory/change_schedule.html

6. OSHA, "Respiratory Protection e Tool: Breakthrough Software." www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/respiratory/advisor_genius_wood/breakthrough.html

7. OSHA, "Respiratory Protection." OSHA 3079, Revised 2002. www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3079/osha3079.html

8. NIOSH 42 CFR Part 84, "Respiratory Protective Devices." June 2, 1995. www.cdc.gov/niosh/pt84abs2.html

9. University of Chicago, Occupational Safety and Health Programs, Safety Manual, "Section 3.6: Respiratory Protection Program." Revised 03/23/06. http://safety.uchicago.edu/3_6.html

10. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Environment, Health & Safety Manual. "Chapter 4: Respiratory Protection Program." Last reviewed 1998. http://ehs.unc.edu/Manuals/ehsManual//4-18.html