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General Guidance

Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard

This page provides links to a variety of guidance documents, web pages, and online tools related to respiratory protection. Most have been created by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), but some have been prepared by other federal government agencies, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). Some of the guidance materials were written primarily for employers and respirator program administrators, while others are geared more for workers.

  • OSHA Bulletin: General Respiratory Protection Guidance for Employers and Workers. (2011). Provides basic information to employers and workers, who may find themselves using respiratory protection for the first time. Provides information on what respirators are, how they work, and what is needed for a respirator to provide protection.
  • OSHA Guidebook: Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard (PDF*). Publication No. 3384, (2011). Provides small entities with a comprehensive step-by-step guide, complete with checklists and commonly asked questions that will aid both workers and employers in small businesses with a better understanding of OSHA’s respiratory protection standard.
  • OSHA eTool: Respiratory Protection. (1998). Provides employers with instruction on the proper selection of respiratory protection and the development of change schedules for gas/vapor cartridges.
  • OSHA Memo to Regional Administrators: Questions and Answers on the Respiratory Protection Standard (PDF*). (1998). Provides questions and answers relating to each paragraph of the Respiratory Protection Standard and includes a Spanish translation of the Medical Questionnaire (Appendix C) at the end of the document.
  • OSHA Guidebook: Respiratory Protection (PDF). Publication No. 3079, (2002). This booklet clarifies key provisions of the respirator protection standard, which was revised in January 1998. It also provides specific guidance on respirator selection, fit testing, hazard evaluation and medical evaluation.
  • OSHA Quick Card: Respirators Quick Card. Publication No. 3280, (2005). Provides employees with a brief description of the different types of respirators available.
  • OSHA Guidebook: Assigned Protection Factors for the Revised Respiratory Protection Standard (PDF*). Publication No. 3352, (2009). Provides employers with information for selecting respirators for workers, using Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) and Maximum Use Concentrations (MUCs).
  • OSHA Fact Sheet: Respiratory Infection Control: The Difference Between Respirators and Surgical Masks (PDF*). (2009). Provides employers and workers with information about the differences between respirators and surgical masks.
  • NIOSH Guidebook: NIOSH Respirator Selection Logic (PDF). DHHS(NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-100, (2004). Provides employers with information on selecting respirators. Replaces the NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic (NIOSH Publication No. 87-108), and includes information on N95 through P100 particulate respirators. An online version, of this decision logic is available as part of the OSHA Respiratory Protection eTool.
  • NIOSH Web page: Workplace Safety and Health Topics: Respirators. Provides information and links to topics pertaining to respirators.
  • NIOSH Web page: NIOSH Respirator Trusted-Source Information Page. Provides information to understand the types of respirators, how to identify approved models and outlets for purchase, a listing of all NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared surgical N95 respirators, a listing of recently revoked respirator approvals and relevant User Notices. It also contains information on how to implement the use of respirators in the workplace and use them appropriately, and includes commonly asked questions and answers (fact sheets), respirator myths, the science of respirator function and performance, and respiratory protective devices not approved by NIOSH.

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 639-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 639-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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