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Maintenance and Care of Respirators

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The proper functioning of respirators and ensuring that the devices themselves do not pose a hazard to the user require a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule. In general, respirators should be inspected for basic function prior to each use and cleaned as often as necessary to prevent the occurrence of unsanitary conditions.

1910.134(h). Maintenance and Care of Respirators.

1910.134 Appendix B-2. Respirator Cleaning Procedures (Mandatory).


(h) Maintenance and care of respirators. This paragraph requires the employer to provide for the cleaning and disinfecting, storage, inspection, and repair of respirators used by employees.

(h)(1) Cleaning and disinfecting. The employer shall provide each respirator user with a respirator that is clean, sanitary, and in good working order. The employer shall ensure that respirators are cleaned and disinfected using the procedures in Appendix B-2 of this section, or procedures recommended by the respirator manufacturer, provided that such procedures are of equivalent effectiveness. The respirators shall be cleaned and disinfected at the following intervals:

(h)(1)(i) Respirators issued for the exclusive use of an employee shall be cleaned and disinfected as often as necessary to be maintained in a sanitary condition;

(h)(1)(ii) Respirators issued to more than one employee shall be cleaned and disinfected before being worn by different individuals;

(h)(1)(iii) Respirators maintained for emergency use shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use; and

(h)(1)(iv) Respirators used in fit testing and training shall be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

(h)(2) Storage. The employer shall ensure that respirators are stored as follows:

(h)(2)(i) All respirators shall be stored to protect them from damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals, and they shall be packed or stored to prevent deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.

(h)(2)(ii) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (h)(2)(i) of this section, emergency respirators shall be:

(h)(2)(ii)(A) Kept accessible to the work area;

(h)(2)(ii)(B) Stored in compartments or in covers that are clearly marked as containing emergency respirators; and

(h)(2)(ii)(C) Stored in accordance with any applicable manufacturer instructions.


(h)(3) Inspection.

(h)(3)(i) The employer shall ensure that respirators are inspected as follows:

(h)(3)(i)(A) All respirators used in routine situations shall be inspected before each use and during cleaning;

(h)(3)(i)(B) All respirators maintained for use in emergency situations shall be inspected at least monthly and in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, and shall be checked for proper function before and after each use; and

(h)(3)(i)(C) Emergency escape-only respirators shall be inspected before being carried into the workplace for use.

(h)(3)(ii) The employer shall ensure that respirator inspections include the following:

(h)(3)(ii)(A) A check of respirator function, tightness of connections, and the condition of the various parts including, but not limited to, the facepiece, head straps, valves, connecting tube, and cartridges, canisters or filters; and

(h)(3)(ii)(B) A check of elastomeric parts for pliability and signs of deterioration.

(h)(3)(iii) In addition to the requirements of paragraphs (h)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section, self-contained breathing apparatus shall be inspected monthly. Air and oxygen cylinders shall be maintained in a fully charged state and shall be recharged when the pressure falls to 90% of the manufacturer's recommended pressure level. The employer shall determine that the regulator and warning devices function properly.

(h)(3)(iv) For respirators maintained for emergency use, the employer shall:

(h)(3)(iv)(A) Certify the respirator by documenting the date the inspection was performed, the name (or signature) of the person who made the inspection, the findings, required remedial action, and a serial number or other means of identifying the inspected respirator; and

(h)(3)(iv)(B) Provide this information on a tag or label that is attached to the storage compartment for the respirator, is kept with the respirator, or is included in inspection reports stored as paper or electronic files. This information shall be maintained until replaced following a subsequent certification.

(h)(4) Repairs. The employer shall ensure that respirators that fail an inspection or are otherwise found to be defective are removed from service, and are discarded or repaired or adjusted in accordance with the following procedures:

(h)(4)(i) Repairs or adjustments to respirators are to be made only by persons appropriately trained to perform such operations and shall use only the respirator manufacturer's NIOSH-approved parts designed for the respirator;

(h)(4)(ii) Repairs shall be made according to the manufacturer's recommendations and specifications for the type and extent of repairs to be performed; and

(h)(4)(iii) Reducing and admission valves, regulators, and alarms shall be adjusted or repaired only by the manufacturer or a technician trained by the manufacturer.

..1910.134 Appendix B-2

Appendix B-2 to 1910.134: Respirator Cleaning Procedures (Mandatory)

These procedures are provided for employer use when cleaning respirators. They are general in nature, and the employer as an alternative may use the cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer of the respirators used by their employees, provided such procedures are as effective as those listed here in Appendix B- 2. Equivalent effectiveness simply means that the procedures used must accomplish the objectives set forth in Appendix B-2, i.e., must ensure that the respirator is properly cleaned and disinfected in a manner that prevents damage to the respirator and does not cause harm to the user.

I. Procedures for Cleaning Respirators

A. Remove filters, cartridges, or canisters. Disassemble facepieces by removing speaking diaphragms, demand and pressure- demand valve assemblies, hoses, or any components recommended by the manufacturer. Discard or repair any defective parts.

B. Wash components in warm (43 deg. C [110 deg. F] maximum) water with a mild detergent or with a cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. A stiff bristle (not wire) brush may be used to facilitate the removal of dirt.

C. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43 deg. C [110 deg. F] maximum), preferably running water. Drain.

D. When the cleaner used does not contain a disinfecting agent, respirator components should be immersed for two minutes in one of the following:

1. Hypochlorite solution (50 ppm of chlorine) made by adding approximately one milliliter of laundry bleach to one liter of water at 43 deg. C (110 deg. F); or,

2. Aqueous solution of iodine (50 ppm iodine) made by adding approximately 0.8 milliliters of tincture of iodine (6-8 grams ammonium and/or potassium iodide/100 cc of 45% alcohol) to one liter of water at 43 deg. C (110 deg. F); or,

3. Other commercially available cleansers of equivalent disinfectant quality when used as directed, if their use is recommended or approved by the respirator manufacturer.

E. Rinse components thoroughly in clean, warm (43 deg. C [110 deg. F] maximum), preferably running water. Drain. The importance of thorough rinsing cannot be overemphasized. Detergents or disinfectants that dry on facepieces may result in dermatitis. In addition, some disinfectants may cause deterioration of rubber or corrosion of metal parts if not completely removed.

F. Components should be hand-dried with a clean lint-free cloth or air-dried.

G. Reassemble facepiece, replacing filters, cartridges, and canisters where necessary.

H. Test the respirator to ensure that all components work properly.

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