- Safety and Health Topics
- Respiratory Protection
Millions of workers are required to wear respirators in various workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases, or death. Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually.
Respirators protect the user in two basic ways. The first is by the removal of contaminants from the air. Respirators of this type include particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles, and air-purifying respirators with cartridges/canisters which filter out chemicals and gases. Other respirators protect by supplying clean respirable air from another source. Respirators that fall into this category include airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply.
Provides links to a variety of guidance documents, web pages, and online tools related to respiratory protection.
Links to a variety of training videos related to respiratory protection.
Respiratory protection is addressed in specific OSHA standards for general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring and construction.
Highlights the most commonly used OSHA directives (instructions to OSHA staff) and letters of interpretation (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to respiratory protection.
Provides links to a variety of resources, such as documents, web pages, and online tools, related to respiratory protection.
Provides links and references to additional resources related to respiratory protection in Spanish.
- OSHA Fit Testing Final Rule: Additional Ambient Aerosol CNC Quantitative Fit Testing Protocols: Respiratory Protection Standard (September 2019). Adds two new quantitative fit testing protocols to Appendix A of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard
- NIOSH Respiratory Protective Device Information Notice Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) user information regarding compressed breathing gas containers (cylinders), NIOSH approval holder user instructions, and Department of Transportation (DOT) permit and marking (February 2019).
- NIOSH/OSHA/CDC Toolkit. Hospital Respiratory Protection Program Toolkit: Resources for Respirator Program Administrators (EPUB | MOBI). (2015). Assists hospitals in developing and implementing effective respiratory protection programs, with an emphasis on preventing the transmission of aerosol transmissible diseases (e.g., influenza, TB, SARS, MERS) to healthcare personnel. Appendix D is a template that can be used to customize your facilities program.
- Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire Infosheet. OSHA Publication No. 3789, (May 2015).
- OSHA Alert: Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers. (April 2012).
- Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard. (2011).
- Disinfection of reusable elastomeric respirators by health care workers: A feasibility study and development of standard operating procedures. American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), (2015).