The inhalation of respirable dusts, toxic gases, vapors, fumes, mists, radioactive air contaminants, and oxygen deficiency are hazards associated with Respiratory Protection. Respirators are used when engineering controls are not feasible or applicable. The use of personal protective equipment in no way diminishes the Laboratory’s responsibility to minimize all air contaminants by the use of accepted engineering controls. Since respirators may subject the user to additional stress and increase risk of injury by interference with vision, freedom of movement, comfort, and ability to communicate, they are considered the least desirable alternative for providing respiratory protection.
The Respiratory Protection Program is designed to determine the need for respirators based upon the operation and materials used, select and provide the appropriate respirator for the task, and determine training and instruction in the proper use of respirators and their limitations. It will also regulate the use and locations of the selected respirators, require necessary maintenance of reusable respirators, determine respirator inspection schedules and procedures, and require medical clearance for respirator use.