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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H—CHAPTER 18

Industrial Hygiene - Respiratory Protection Program

18.1 Purpose. To specify the minimum Occupational Safety and Health Program (Program) requirements for providing personnel adequate protection from chemical, physical and/or biological stressors, such as noise, chemical exposures, excessive temperatures, dusts, mists, and vapors within the Department of the Interior (Department or DOI) and U.S. Geological Survey (Bureau or USGS).

18.2 References.

A.  Executive Order 12196.

B.  29 CFR 1960, Subpart C, Standards.

C.  29 CFR 1910, General Industry Standards.

D.  Department of the Interior Occupational Medicine Program Handbook.

E.  29 CFR 1910.134, Respiratory Protection.

F.  29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix A, Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory).

G.  29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix B1, User Check Seal Procedures (Mandatory).

H.  29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix B2, Respirator Cleaning Procedures (Mandatory).

I.  29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix C, OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Mandatory).

J.  29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix D, Information of Personnel Using Respirators When Not Required Under Standard (Mandatory).

K.  Title 42 CFR, Part 84, Respiratory Protection Devices.

18.3 Scope. This program outlines minimum requirements for acceptable Respiratory Protection Programs (RPP’s) within USGS. These requirements apply to all USGS personnel whose job duties involve the use of respiratory protection devices and who work in an environment with potential exposure to respiratory hazards.

(1) No part of this chapter is intended to supersede those requirements established by 29 CFR 1910.134, Respiratory Protection.

(2) OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL’s), found in 29 CFR 1910.1000, or ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLV’s), shall be the primary baseline for determining hazardous airborne concentrations of toxic materials. Where conflict exists between OSHA PEL’s, and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) TLV’s, the more stringent requirement should apply.

18.4  Requirements.

A. The Office of Managing Risk and Public Safety (MRPS) and the USGS will have the services of an industrial hygienist(s) readily available.

B. The USGS Office of Administrative and Policy Services, Office of Management Services, Branch of Safety and Environmental Management employs a full-time Industrial Hygienist who coordinates the occupational health program and is available for consultation with regional and field organizational staff, as needed.

C.  The USGS shall evaluate potential health hazards in the workplace and control them using appropriate means. Engineering controls shall be used as the primary means to prevent exposure to hazards. Administrative controls and personal protective equipment will supplement engineering controls as appropriate.

D.  The USGS shall provide a respiratory protection program for personnel who are exposed to potentially harmful gases, vapors and particulates. The written program will comply with current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, as a minimum.  Medical evaluations of respirator users shall be conducted prior to issuing respiratory equipment and should be performed consistent with guidelines in the DOI Occupational Medicine Program Handbook.

E.  Engineering controls or changes in methods or process shall be used to the greatest extent possible to either eliminate or reduce respiratory hazards to acceptable levels. Respiratory hazards include, but are not limited to, insufficient oxygen and/or contaminated air with harmful dusts, fumes, sprays, mists, fogs, smokes, vapors, or gases.

(1)  Depending on the substance, airborne contaminants can either cause irritation, disease, or other damage to the tissue of the respiratory system or contaminants can enter the lungs and pass directly into the bloodstream and be carried to other parts of the body. The toxic action of a substance can be generally divided into acute and chronic effects. Acute effects generally involve short-term high concentrations and immediate effects of some kind: illness, irritation, or death. An example of an acute exposure would be inhaling high levels of carbon monoxide or ingesting a sufficient quantity of a cyanide compound to produce rapid poisoning. A related categorization of acute atmospheric hazard relevant to respiratory protection is Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH). IDLH atmospheres are concentrations of any toxic, corrosive, or asphyxiant substances that pose an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible or delayed adverse health effects, or would interfere with an individual's ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere by causing severe eye or respiratory irritation and other deleterious effect (e.g., disorientation or lack of coordination).

(2)  Additionally, atmospheres with less than 19.5 percent oxygen or that contain 10 percent of the lower exposure limit are considered immediately dangerous to life orhealth.

(3)  Chronic effects generally develop slowly over months or years of continued or repetitive exposure to a toxic substance. For example PEL’s, REL’s, and TLV’s were established to protect against chronic health effects by establishing airborne concentrations of substances and conditions of exposure under which it is believed nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed day after day without adverse health effects.

(4)  Airborne contaminants are physically classified as either gas, vapor, or particulate (dust, fume, mist). Gases are the normal state for many substances, (e.g., hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen). Vapors are formed by the evaporation of substances such as acetone or methanol. Dusts are solid particles produced by processes such asgrinding, crushing, drilling, or shaking. Fumes are formed when volatilized solids condense in cool air. Welding is the most common example of a process producing fumes. Gases and vapor are not fumes although the terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Mists are finely divided liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere and formed by the condensation of liquids from the vapor state back to the liquid state, or by operations such as spraying.

(5)  Respiratory protection shall be considered as an alternative to engineering controls only in the following situations:

(a)  When engineering controls are not possible or practical (i.e., short term, nonroutine, or remote site operations).

(b)  When development or installation of engineering controls is pending.

(6)  A written respiratory protection program (RPP) shall be developed in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(C) whenever elastomeric respirators are worn to protect personnel health from contaminated or oxygen deficient air. RPP’s are implemented so that personnel can be provided with respiratory protection when the status of engineering controls to control respiratory hazards is unknown, while engineering controls are being instituted, or when engineering controls are not feasible. Unlike engineering controls, respirators do not eliminate a hazard. If the respiratory equipment is not used or is used improperly (equipment does not fit or is damaged), exposure to the hazard would likely occur. In addition to the items listed in 29 CFR 1910.134(C)(1), the RPP must contain site or task-specific procedures and elements for respirator use and be updated as necessary to reflect any changes regarding respirator use. RRP’s are also required if personnel wear elastomeric respirators on a voluntary basis (i.e., when not required by OSHA or other governing regulation) to obtain relief from bothersome odors or to gain an additional level protection even though air contaminants are within acceptable limits.

(7) Written RPP’s are not required for voluntary use of disposable type dust masks provided a hazard assessment is performed to determine these type respirators are acceptable for the task and do not create a hazard in themselves. To assist in this development, a generic respiratory protection program electronic version is available on the Department Web site at

(8)  Selection of respirators shall be based on evaluation of the respiratory hazard(s) present and in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(d). Appendix 18-1, Selection Guide for Respiratory Protection is suggested for use in meeting this requirement.

(9)  Air monitoring or quantitative exposure estimates shall be performed to assess levels of airborne contaminants in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL’s) found in 29 CFR 1910.1000, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limits (REL’s), or American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).

(10)  Threshold Limit Values (TLV’s) shall be the primary baseline for determining hazardous airborne concentrations of toxic materials. Where conflicts exist between the various exposure limits, the more stringent limit shall apply. In addition, this policy will be followed if respirators are worn for protection from exposure to other respiratory hazards that are encountered occasionally but have not been determined to exceed established exposure limits. These occasionally encountered respiratory hazards may include exposure to organic vapors from paints and solvents, vapors from concentrated hydrochloric acid used to prepare dilute solutions for water-quality equipment rinses, metal oxide fumes from welding and metal cutting procedures, and chemical vapors from bleach solutions used for disinfection.

(11)  Only approved respiratory protection devices and components shall be allowed. Permitted respiratory devices and components are only those certified as NIOSH approved.

(12)  Selection of the air-purifying elements is based on the nature of the respiratory hazard.  Air-purifying elements provide protection against specific substances or groups and classes of contaminants. It is imperative that the contaminant(s) be identified in order to select the proper air-purifying element.

(13)  Filters provide protection against respiratory hazards that are particulate in nature by trapping the contaminant within the fibers of the filter media. An increase in breathing resistance will occur as a result of particulate contaminants lodging on the filter. Filters should be considered spent and replaced whenever there is any noticeable increase in breathing resistance or as otherwise recommended by the manufacturer.

(14)  Cartridges provide protection against certain gas and vapor respiratory hazards. Cartridges are available for protection against ammonia gas and mercury vapor, and classes of gases and vapors, such as acid gases and organic vapors. In contrast to filters, which are effective to some degree no matter what the particulate, cartridges used for gas and vapor removal are designed for protection against specific contaminants only, and it is imperative that the contaminant(s) be identified in order to select the proper air-purifying element. Cartridges should be considered spent and replaced when contaminants are first detected through the respirator or as otherwise recommended by the manufacturer. Air-purifying respirators shall never be used for protection from chemicals that lack adequate warning properties. Warning properties are considered adequate when a contaminant’s odor, taste, or irritant effects can be detected and are persistent at concentrations at or below the PEL or TLV.

(15)  Single use, disposable, or maintenance-free respirators should never be used in place of elastomeric face piece type respirators designed to accept replaceable cartridges. Disposable-type respirators provide a much poorer face-piece seal than a properly fitted elastomeric face piece type respirator. It is difficult to perform an effective negative and/or positive pressure preuse face piece leakage test with these type of respirators.

(16)  All filters and cartridges approved by NIOSH and MSHA are color coded according to the universal color-coding system established by American National Standard Institute.  Some of the color codes are listed below.

Color    Protection

PurpleHigh    Efficiency Particulate (HEPA)

Black    Organic Vapor (OV)

Yellow    Organic Vapor/Acid Gas (OV/AG)

Brown    Mercury

Orange    Dusts, Mists, and Fumes

White    Acid Gas

Green    Ammonia/Methylamine

(17)  All of the air-purifying elements to be issued will be combinations of filters and cartridges. The filter part of the combination is an HEPA filter, which mechanically traps particulate and provides protection from metal fumes, including zinc oxide and the particulate associated with hantavirus. The cartridge part of the combination is an OV or OV/AG cartridge. Both types of cartridges provide protection from organic vapors associated with paints, solvents, and pesticides. The OV/AG cartridge also provides protection from acid gases, such as hydrogen chloride. Make sure you know what protection your air-purifying elements will provide!

(18)  Regardless of frequency and duration of use, all filter/cartridge combinations are to be replaced at least annually. Specific projects or jobs may require that air-purifying elements be replaced more frequently. Refer to manufacturers’ recommendations regarding replacement of filters and cartridges and any expiration dates that may apply.  Filters and cartridges must be replaced if they get wet or damaged. Both air-purifying elements must be replaced; never replace only one.

(19)  Respirator selection and use in atmospheres that are of either unknown hazard or known to be IDLH shall comply with 29 CFR 1910.134(d)(2) and (g)(3).

(20)  For each potentially hazardous job, a job hazard analysis (JHA) shall be developed to determine the need for, and as required, the specific type of respiratory protection to be utilized. There are two general categories of respirators: (1) atmosphere-supplying (supplied air), and (2) air-purifying. Atmosphere-supplying respirators provide an independent source of clean breathing air and must be used when entering an immediately dangerous to life or health atmosphere, an unknown atmosphere, or where an approved air-purifying respirator is unavailable for the specific contaminant at hand. Use of atmosphere-supplying respirators requires coordination and approval of the Bureau Industrial Hygienist.

(21)  All personnel who use respirators shall be provided initial and follow-up medical evaluation in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(e) and 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix C. Initial medical evaluation must take place before personnel perform any respirator use activities to include fit testing.

(22)  A physician must evaluate personnel and provide medical clearance before respirators are issued or tasks assigned requiring respiratory protection. All persons participating in the respiratory protection program must be evaluated and cleared for respirator use by a physician. The physician shall determine what health and physical conditions are pertinent. As required by the physician, periodic medical re-evaluation will be conducted. Personnel who use elastomeric respirators on a voluntary basis are required to receive medical evaluation. Medical evaluation is not required for the voluntary use of disposable-type dust masks when no airborne hazard is present.

(23)  Fit testing of tight fitting face piece respirators shall be provided as required by 29 CFR 1910.134(f). Before an employee is required to use a tight fitting face piece respirator a fit test shall be successfully performed with the same make, model, and size respirator to be used.

(24)  All fit testing must be in accordance with the OSHA-approved protocols found in 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix A. Respirators worn on a voluntary basis do not require fit testing. If the respirator will be worn with any additional equipment (e.g., corrective glasses, goggles, face shields, helmets, etc.) that could potentially compromise face piece seal, then respirator fit testing should be performed with this equipment in place to ensure that an adequate fit is obtained.

(25)  A qualitative fit-test (does not apply to hooded respirators operated with adequate positive pressure) will be performed and successfully passed before an employee can be issued a respirator or assigned to a task requiring the use of respiratory protection. In order to ensure continued proper fit and face piece seal, qualitative fit testing must be successfully completed on an annual basis unless a specific OSHA standard requires more frequent fit-testing (e.g., the asbestos, lead, arsenic, and acrylonitrile, standards require testing every six months). Personnel performing fit-testing shall have received appropriate training. Only validated qualitative fit-test protocols shall be used. Several examples of acceptable protocols may be found in the current OSHA 29 CFR Subpart Z standards for toxic and hazardous substances (e.g., 1910.1001, Appendix C, and 1910.1025, Appendix D detail procedures for a variety of qualitative fit tests).

(26) Negative Pressure Fit Check.

(a)  Completely cover air-purifying elements.

(b)  Inhale and hold breath for 10 seconds.

(c)  Observe the face piece. It should collapse slightly and you should not feel or hear any air leaks. If you do, reposition the face piece and/or adjust the tension of the straps. Test again, until there are no leaks.

(27) Positive Pressure Fit Check.

(a)  Completely cover the exhalation valves.

(b)  Exhale gently into the face piece.

(c)  Observe the face piece. It should bulge slightly and you should not feel or hear any air leaks. If you do, adjust the tension of the head harness straps until a tight seal is obtained. Respirators must be visually inspected before and after each use to ensure that there are no damaged parts, that all components are in place, and that it is in good working condition. After assembling the respirator by screwing in the air-purifying elements, check to ensure that the air-purifying elements are tightly sealed against the face piece, the exhalation valve is in place, and the sealing flange has not been distorted. Report any damage or problems immediately to your supervisor or the Program Coordinator. Do not use the respirator until the problem has been resolved (refer to manufacturer's instruction manual for respirator instructions).

(28) Half Mask Respirators must be put on in a non-contaminated environment following these steps:

(a)  Remove eyewear, if worn.

(b)  Place exhalation valve under chin and narrow part of respirator on the nose bridge.

(c)  Pull the top straps up over the head, positioning them so the top strap rests across the top of the head and the bottom strap rests above the ears, on the back of the head.

(d)  Attach the bottom strap behind the neck and below the ears, and adjust the position of the face piece for fit and comfort.

(e)  Adjust the straps to ensure a tight seal. Always adjust from the top down. Try to adjust the straps on either side so they are equal. Do not over tighten. If the respirator is pinching or is uncomfortable, loosen the straps slightly. Replace eyewear, if removed.

(f)  Test fit your respirator every time you put it on to ensure that it is properly adjusted by conducting negative and positive pressure test fits outlined below (refer to manufacturer's instruction manual for additional instructions on your respirator).

(29)  Continued integrity of respirator face piece seal shall be maintained per 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(1). Preuse checks shall be performed prior to each use of the respirator to ensure an adequate seal is achieved as described in 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix B-1. Operations in which respirators are used shall be routinely assessed to ensure that any changing worksite conditions or stressors are evaluated with respect to the effectiveness of respiratory protection being provided as described in 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(2).

(30)  Maintenance, care, and inspection of respirators shall be in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(h) and Appendix B-2, or procedures recommended by the manufacturer provided they are of equal effectiveness. For hygiene purposes, respirators should be assigned to individual approved employees for personal use only; respirators should not be shared. For disinfecting activities to eliminate the hantavirus or histoplasmosis fungus, always move away from a potentially contaminated area and into a clean area before removing respirator.

(31)  Always remove respirator after all other personal protective clothing. Disinfect protective gloves, if worn, and while still on, remove respirator. Unscrew air-purifying elements, soaked in a 1 part bleach to 8 parts watersolution, place in reclosable plastic bags, and dispose. Wipe off outsideof respirator face piece with paper towels dampened in 1:8 bleach and water solution if respirator has been worn as protection from hantavirus. Place face piece in a plastic bag until it can be thoroughly cleaned. Disinfect gloves. Remove.

(32)  The respirator should be thoroughly cleaned after each use. To do this, remove all detachable parts including the strap system, inhalation valve connectors, inhalation valves, exhalation valve seat, exhalation valve, and exhalation valve guard (refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual for figure showing parts), inspecting each part as you remove it. Clean with warm soapy water, using a mild dish soap or Liquinox. Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water. Air dry all respirator parts before reassembling.  Reassemble and store in clean, reclosable plastic bag, keeping face piece separate from air-purifying elements. Consult manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, especially with regard to maximum water temperatures. Respirators should be stored in a clean, dry environment, out of direct sunlight, extreme heat or cold, and areas where the face piece could become crimped or pinched. Do not store your respirator or filters/cartridges in areas where oil, grease, gas, or other hazardous materials or their vapors may be present.

(33)  Breathing air quality and use for supplied air respirators shall be in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(i). In addition, compressor systems used for supplying breathing air shall be of a type specifically designed for this purpose.

(34)  All NIOSH approvals, color codes, and markings shall be maintained on respiratory protection devices in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(j). If color coding or other labeling becomes illegible, the device shall be destroyed and replaced with appropriate equipment.

(35)  Initial training must be provided before any personnel are required to wear a respirator. Training shall cover at minimum the topics listed in 29 CFR 1910.134(k)(1). Retraining must be provided at least annually or more often as described in 29 CFR 1910.134(k)(5). Personnel who wear respirators on a voluntary basis shall at minimum be provided the information contained in 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix D.

(36)  Appropriate training, including documentation of the training through an employees signature indicating that training was received and that the employee understands the information, must be provided before an employee can be issued a respirator or assigned to a task that requires the use of a respirator. All persons participating in the respiratory protection program must be provided training annually. Training will include, but not be limited to, review of this document, with emphasis on hazard recognition, selection of respirators, and operating procedures. Training certification is required.

(37)  Air-purifying respirators remove contaminants from the air; they do not supply air. Air-purifying respirators are limited, therefore, to use in locations where the concentration of the oxygen is at least 19.5 percent. They must be used only in atmospheres where the contaminant and its concentration are known. Air-purifying respirators must not be used in immediately dangerous to life or health atmospheres. When used in atmospheres containing gaseous contaminants and vapors, air-purifying respirators cannot be used when contaminants have poor warning properties. When wearing an air-purifying respirator, physical effort is required to draw air through the air-purifying elements and breathing may seem somewhat restricted. If the work requires physical exertion, breathing can become labored. If an employee perspires while working, wearing a respirator can become uncomfortable and difficult. Respirators limit communication between coworkers. It is difficult to hear or be heard while wearing a respirator.

(38)  Per 29 CFR 1910.134(l), periodic RPP evaluations shall be performed as necessary to ensure effective implementation. In addition, operations in which respirators are being used voluntarily should receive periodic evaluation to ensure that these operations have not altered or increased in hazard to a level that would make respirator use mandatory.

(39)  All RPP records shall be maintained as required by 29 CFR 1910.134(m).

18.5         Responsibilities.

A. Bureau Safety Manager/Bureau Industrial Hygienist.

(1)  Provides technical assistance and guidance to Regional Safety Managers regarding respiratory protection issues, air monitoring, exposure assessment, and program requirements.

(2)  Establishes and monitors Bureau industrial hygiene contracts for air monitoring, as applicable.

(3)  Assesses the effectiveness of USGS RPP policy annually and modifies procedures and requirements, as necessary.

(4)  Evaluates Regional Headquarters and regional science program respiratory protection programs as feasible during field surveys.

(5)  Keeps abreast of the current technology in respiratory protection and ensures that resources are available to assist organizations in RPP administration and implementation.

B. Regional Safety Managers.

(1)  Conduct periodic audits of Regional Headquarters and regional science respiratory protection programs in conjunction with program evaluations and provide recommendations for program improvement.

(2)  Assist Regional Safety Officers and Collateral Duty Respiratory Protection Program/Safety Program Coordinators in arranging for or conducting appropriate respirator training.

(3)  Assist Regional Safety Officers and field level organizational management in development of individual and template respiratory protection plans, upon request. A template plan may be at URL

(4)  Keep abreast of the latest technology of respiratory protection.

(5)  Establish and monitor Regional Headquarters industrial hygiene contracts for air monitoring, as applicable.

(6)  Provide technical assistance and review JHA’s, air monitoring results, and RPP’s, for adequacy and compliance with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.134 and this Handbook.

C.  Regional Safety Officer.

(1)  Conduct periodic audits of regional science RPP’s in conjunction with program evaluations and provide recommendations for program improvement.

(2)  Assist Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators in arranging for or conducting appropriate respirator training and field level organizational management in development of individual and template respiratory protection plans, upon request. A template plan may be found at

(3)  Keep abreast of the latest technology in respiratory protection.

(4)  Establish and monitor science program industrial hygiene contracts for air monitoring, as applicable.

(5)  Provide technical assistance and review JHA’s, air monitoring results, and RPP’s, for adequacy and compliance with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.134 and this Handbook.

D.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators (CDSPC’s).

(1)  Develop and update RPP’s as necessary for all operations in which respiratory protection is utilized and communicate RPP to organizational employees.

(2)  Prepare and update, as needed, standard operating procedures.

(3)  Assist supervisors in implementing RPP’s, respirator selection, coordinating fit testing, medical exams, and maintenance of associated RPP records.

(4)  Assist supervisors in the coordination of information and annual training on the correct use and maintenance of respirators.

(5)  Forward to the respective Regional Safety Officer or Regional Safety Manager all JHA’s and RPP’s for review, as applicable.

(6)  Coordinate air monitoring, exposure assessments, and any technical issues with the Regional Safety Officer or Regional Safety Manager as applicable, and with the Bureau Industrial Hygienist, if necessary.

(7)  Establish and monitor industrial hygiene contracts for air monitoring in coordination with the Regional Safety Officer or Regional Safety Manager, as applicable, and with the Bureau Industrial Hygienist, if necessary.

(8)  Evaluate the effectiveness of the program annually and document in writing in conjunction with the self conducted facility inspection and program assessment. The assessment should address the following topics and include information compiled during the course of the year to help determine if the program has been effective or if changes are needed.

(a)  Numbers of respirator users and their job classifications.

(b)  Types of respirators/elements used and a review of subject activities/operations.

(c)  Reviews and documentation of JHA’s.

(d)  Maintenance and care.

(e)  Training.

(f)  Records and documentation (medical evaluations [dates and clearance statements] and qualitative fit tests, etc.).

E. Organizational Managers and Supervisors/Project Chiefs/Laboratory Supervisors.

(1)  Identify and evaluate hazards under their control and bring them to the direct attention of the respective CDSPC and/or Regional Safety Officer when assistance is needed for abatement.

(2)  Consider engineering controls such as contaminant isolation or enclosure, substitution of less or nontoxic materials, or exhaust ventilation in place of respiratory protection where feasible.

(3)  Implement RPP’s as necessary for all operations in which respiratory protection is utilized.

(4)  Provide personnel fit testing, training and awareness in use, maintenance, inspection, and limitations of the specific type(s) of respiratory protection assigned for use.

(5)  Conduct medical evaluations.

(6)  Conduct qualitative fit tests of half-face or full-face respirators annually or when changes in the users physical conditions that could effect respirator fit are reported or observed.

(7)  Provide information and annual training on the correct use and maintenance of respirators.

(8)  Ensure personnel are not assigned tasks requiring respiratory protection until all requirements of this chapter are met with. Employees refusing medical surveillance not be assigned to tasks requiring respiratory protection.

(9)  Monitor personnel compliance with established RPP’s and take corrective action where appropriate.

(10)  Identify and evaluate tasks that have potential to create a respiratory hazard using JHA’s, as described in Chapter 2 of this Handbook, to evaluate tasks that may potentially expose personnel to respiratory hazards and to recommend the appropriate types/quantities of respirators needed.

(11)  Provide personnel with initial and any follow-up medical evaluation with a qualified physician or other licensed health care professional whenever respirators are in use.

(12)  Report positive evidence of exposure to the respective Regional Safety Officer or Regional Safety Manager as applicable through the Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator, and follow up with appropriate work area surveillance.

(13)  Maintain records of fit tests, medical clearance statements, and training, as necessary, to verify the requirements of this chapter.

(14)  Provide personnel with proper training and protection with the appropriate respirator and cartridges. Respirator selection shall be made in consultation with the Collateral Duty Respiratory Protection Program and/or Safety Program Coordinator; Regional Safety Officer, Regional Safety Manager, Bureau Safety and Environmental Branch Industrial Hygienist, or other qualified individual such as the local respirator company representative, as necessary.

(15)  Maintain records of fit tests, medical clearance statements, and training, as necessary, to verify the requirements of this chapter.

F. Personnel.

(1)  Participate in all training and follow all safety/health instruction and standard operating procedures and personal protective equipment requirements.

(2)  Report any hazardous conditions, exposures, or unusual circumstances to supervisors.

(3)  Participate in medical surveillance and meet all physical requirements prior to respirator use to include maintaining clean shaven skin to ensure the best fit and seal where the respirator face piece contacts the face.

(4)  Properly maintain and care for individually issued respirators as outlined in the RPP and manufacturer instructions and document use and maintenance checks.

(5)  Inspect individually issued respirators prior to each use; clean, disinfect, and inspect after each use for damage; and report any respirator damage immediately to immediate supervisor.

(6)  Conduct formal qualitative or quantitative fit testing and perform a fit check of the respirator before each use, in accordance with established SOP’s, manufacturer recommendations, and training instructions. Ensure that the respirator is equipped with the proper air-purifying elements.

(7)  Participate in respiratory training and be knowledgeable in nature of the hazards present in the workplace and in the selection of the appropriate respiratory protection for the task. Users must ensure the ambient atmospheric oxygen content of the work environment is at least 19.5 percent by volume.

(8)  Wear/use respirator(s) as required by this program and only the model(s) for which they have been fit tested when conditions warrant and per manufacturer instructions for operation. Become familiar with the respirator in an uncontaminated atmosphere. Any employee who has reservations about wearing a respirator should discuss this with the supervisor or the program coordinator before work at a potentially contaminated site begins.

G. Contracting Officer Representatives. Coordinate to assure all USGS contractors establish a respiratory protection program in compliance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134.

18.6. Additional Resources.

A.  Respiratory Protection OSHA 3079 (1998).

B.  DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 96-101, Guide to the Selection and Use of Particulate Respirators Certified under 42 CFR 84.

C.  DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 87-116, NIOSH Guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection.

D.  OSHA Interpretations on Respiratory Protection.

E.  Respiratory Selection Guide NIOSH Pub No. 87-108, NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic.

F.  ANSI Z88.2-1992, Standard for Respiratory Protection.

G.  OSHA Respiratory Protection Advisor.

H.  USGS 445-2-H, Appendix 26-2, Selection Guide for Respirator Protection.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
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Last modification: 14-Sep-2012@17:10