There’s nothing more important than the health and safety of your team, so it’s essential to ensure that you always follow proper standards set by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). You’re required to provide your team with a respirator when they’re working in the presence of harmful dusts, mists, smokes, fogs, sprays, fumes, gases, vapors or sprays, to protect them from atmospheric contamination.

Respiratory Protection Program

OSHA requires you to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program containing worksite-specific procedures and elements for mandatory respirator use. The program must be sponsored by a trained administrator and certain elements may be required for voluntary use — in an effort to further prevent potential hazards linked to the use of this device.

The program must include the following information:

  • Procedures for choosing the right respirators.
  • Medical evaluations of employees required to use the devices.
  • Fit testing processes for tight-fitting respirators.
  • Instructions for the correct use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergencies.
  • Schedules and procedures for cleaning, storing, disinfecting, repairing, discarding, inspecting and other maintenance of respirators.
  • Processes to ensure adequate air quantity, quality and flow of breathing for atmosphere-supplying respirators.
  • Training to employees to respond to respiratory hazards they may be exposed to during both standard and emergency situations.
  • Educating employees on the proper use of respirators, including how to put on and take off the mask and limitations on their use and maintenance.
  • Guidelines for regularly evaluating program effectiveness.

Additionally, you are required to provide NIOSH-certified respirators, training and medical evaluations to your staff at no charge to them. All employees must be properly fit tested before using a respirator with a negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece.

You must ensure that each device is properly cleaned, disinfected, stored and regularly inspected. Finally, you are required to obtain a written recommendation detailing the employee’s ability to use the respirator from a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP).

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