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The requirement for a respirator program to be in writing entails a great deal of pre-planning of the implementation steps for the program. These steps include selection, medical fitness, maintenance, training, fit testing, use, program evaluation, etc. This pre-planning is by design and intended to ensure the respirator wearer is safely using the proper respirator. The program evaluation facet allows for continuous improvements or changes to be made, as necessary, to maintain a protective program.

1910.134(c). Respiratory Protection Program.

1910.134(l). Program Evaluation.

1910.134(m). RecordKeeping.


(c) Respiratory protection program. This paragraph requires the employer to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures and elements for required respirator use. The program must be administered by a suitably trained program administrator. In addition, certain program elements may be required for voluntary use to prevent potential hazards associated with the use of the respirator. The Small Entity Compliance Guide contains criteria for the selection of a program administrator and a sample program that meets the requirements of this paragraph. Copies of the Small Entity Compliance Guide will be available on or about April 8, 1998 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Office of Publications, Room N 3101, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20210 (202-219-4667).

(c)(1) In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer, the employer shall establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures. The program shall be updated as necessary to reflect those changes in workplace conditions that affect respirator use. The employer shall include in the program the following provisions of this section, as applicable:

(c)(1)(i) Procedures for selecting respirators for use in the workplace;

(c)(1)(ii) Medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators;

(c)(1)(iii) Fit testing procedures for tight-fitting respirators;

(c)(1)(iv) Procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations;

(c)(1)(v) Procedures and schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, discarding, and otherwise maintaining respirators;

(c)(1)(vi) Procedures to ensure adequate air quality, quantity, and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators;

(c)(1)(vii) Training of employees in the respiratory hazards to which they are potentially exposed during routine and emergency situations;


(c)(1)(viii) Training of employees in the proper use of respirators, including putting on and removing them, any limitations on their use, and their maintenance; and

(c)(1)(ix) Procedures for regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

(c)(2) Where respirator use is not required:

(c)(2)(i) An employer may provide respirators at the request of employees or permit employees to use their own respirators, if the employer determines that such respirator use will not in itself create a hazard. If the employer determines that any voluntary respirator use is permissible, the employer shall provide the respirator users with the information contained in Appendix D to this section ("Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard"); and

(c)(2)(ii) In addition, the employer must establish and implement those elements of a written respiratory protection program necessary to ensure that any employee using a respirator voluntarily is medically able to use that respirator, and that the respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so that its use does not present a health hazard to the user. Exception: Employers are not required to include in a written respiratory protection program those employees whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of filtering facepieces (dust masks).

(c)(3) The employer shall designate a program administrator who is qualified by appropriate training or experience that is commensurate with the complexity of the program to administer or oversee the respiratory protection program and conduct the required evaluations of program effectiveness.

(c)(4) The employer shall provide respirators, training, and medical evaluations at no cost to the employee.


(l) Program evaluation. This section requires the employer to conduct evaluations of the workplace to ensure that the written respiratory protection program is being properly implemented, and to consult employees to ensure that they are using the respirators properly.

(l)(1) The employer shall conduct evaluations of the workplace as necessary to ensure that the provisions of the current written program are being effectively implemented and that it continues to be effective.

(l)(2) The employer shall regularly consult employees required to use respirators to assess the employees' views on program effectiveness and to identify any problems. Any problems that are identified during this assessment shall be corrected. Factors to be assessed include, but are not limited to:


(l)(2)(i) Respirator fit (including the ability to use the respirator without interfering with effective workplace performance);

(l)(2)(ii) Appropriate respirator selection for the hazards to which the employee is exposed;

(l)(2)(iii) Proper respirator use under the workplace conditions the employee encounters; and

(l)(2)(iv) Proper respirator maintenance.


(m) Recordkeeping. This section requires the employer to establish and retain written information regarding medical evaluations, fit testing, and the respirator program. This information will facilitate employee involvement in the respirator program, assist the employer in auditing the adequacy of the program, and provide a record for compliance determinations by OSHA.


(m)(1) Medical evaluation. Records of medical evaluations required by this section must be retained and made available in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1020.

(m)(2) Fit testing.

(m)(2)(i) The employer shall establish a record of the qualitative and quantitative fit tests administered to an employee including:

(m)(2)(i)(A) The name or identification of the employee tested;

(m)(2)(i)(B) Type of fit test performed;

(m)(2)(i)(C) Specific make, model, style, and size of respirator tested;

(m)(2)(i)(D) Date of test; and

(m)(2)(i)(E) The pass/fail results for QLFTs or the fit factor and strip chart recording or other recording of the test results for QNFTs.

(m)(2)(ii) Fit test records shall be retained for respirator users until the next fit test is administered.

(m)(3) A written copy of the current respirator program shall be retained by the employer.

(m)(4) Written materials required to be retained under this paragraph shall be made available upon request to affected employees and to the Assistant Secretary or designee for examination and copying.

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