OSHA Field Safety and Health Management System (SHMS) Manual


  1. Purpose

    During their regular course of duty OSHA employees may be required to enter environments where airborne contaminants are present. As such, a comprehensive respiratory program is mandatory. This Program sets forth accepted practices for respirator users and provides information and guidance on the proper selection, use, and care of respirators in accordance with CPL 2-2.54A.

  2. Scope

    This chapter applies to all OSHA employees who need to wear a respirator to perform his or her job duties.

  3. Definitions
    1. Air Purifying Respirator. A respirator with an air purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air purifying element.

    2. Atmosphere-supplying Respirator. A respirator that supplies the user with breathing air from a source independent of the ambient atmosphere, including supplied-air respirators (SARs) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.

    3. Demand Respirator. An atmosphere supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the face piece only when negative pressure is created inside the face piece by inhalation.

    4. Emergency Situation. Any occurrence, including but not limited to equipment failure, rupture of containers, or failure of control equipment, that may or does result in uncontrolled significant release of an airborne contaminant.

    5. End-of-Service-Life-Indicator (ESLI). A system that warns the respirator user of the approach of the end of adequate respiratory protection; for example, the sorbent is approaching saturation or is no longer adequate.

    6. Escape-only Respirator. A respirator intended to be used only for emergency exit.

    7. Filtering Face Piece (dust mask). A negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the face piece or with the entire face piece composed of the filtering medium.

    8. Fit Factor. A quantitative estimate of the fit of a particular respirator to a specific individual; typically estimates the ratio of the concentration of a substance in ambient air to its concentration inside the respirator when worn.

    9. Fit Test. The use of protocol to qualitatively or quantitatively evaluate the fit of a respirator on an individual. (See Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT) and Quantitative Fit Test (ANFT).)

    10. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter. A filter that is at least 99.97% efficient in removing monodisperse particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter. The equivalent NIOSH 42 CFR 84 particulate filters are the N100, R1000, and P100 filters.

    11. Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH). An atmosphere that poses an immediate threat to life, would cause irreversible adverse health effects, or would impair an individual’s ability to escape from a dangerous atmosphere.

    12. Loose-fitting Facepiece. A respiratory inlet covering that is designed to form a partial seal with the face.

    13. Negative Pressure Respirator (tight fitting). A respirator in which the air pressure inside the facepiece is negative during inhalation with respect to the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

    14. Oxygen Deficient Atmosphere. An atmosphere with an oxygen content below 19.5% by volume.

    15. Physician or Other Licensed Health Care Professional (PLHCP). An individual whose legally permitted scope of practice (e.g. license, registration, or certification) allows him or her to independently provide or be delegated the responsibility to provide some or all of the health care services required under section (e) of the OSHA Respirator Standard.

    16. Positive Pressure Respirator. A respirator in which the pressure inside the respiratory inlet covering exceeds the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

    17. Powered Air-purifying Respirator (PAPR). An air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through the air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

    18. Pressure Demand Respirator. A positive pressure atmosphere-supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the facepiece when the positive pressure is reduced inside the facepiece by inhalation.

    19. Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT). A pass/fail test to assess the adequacy of respirator fit that relies on the individual’s response to the test agent.

    20. Quantitative Fit Test (QNFT). An assessment of the adequacy of respirator fit by numerically measuring the amount of leakage into the respirator.

    21. Service Life. The period of time that a respirator, filter or sorbent, or other respiratory equipment provides adequate protection to the wearer.

    22. Supplied –Air Respirator (SAR) or Airline Respirator. An atmosphere-supplying respirator for which the source of breathing air is not designed to be carried by the user.

    23. Tight-fitting Facepiece. A respiratory inlet covering that forms a complete seal with the face.

    24. User Seal Check. An action conducted by the respirator user to determine if the respirator is properly sealed to the face.

  4. Responsibilities
    1. The responsible OSHA Manager(s), acting as the representative of the Regional Administrator, is the coordinator of the Respiratory Protection Program in the Area Office. The responsible OSHA Manager(s) may delegate the day-to-day responsibility for the respiratory protection program to one of the AAD/appropriate OSHA manager, or a senior industrial hygienist; however, the ultimate responsibility for the program within the Area Office remains with the responsible OSHA Manager(s).

    2. The Regional Administrator will appoint a Regional Program Administrator, the Regional Respiratory Protection Program Coordinator (RRPPC), who as a representative of the Regional Administrator will have responsibility for the program in the Regional Office, as well as act as overall regional coordinator for the program. As administrator for the program, the RRPPC has the authority to make decisions and implement changes to the respiratory protection program as necessary.

    3. The respirator water will:

      1. Use respirator in accordance with instruction and training received;

      2. Store, clean, maintain, and guard against damage to respirator equipment;

      3. Inspect the respirator before each use and after cleaning and disinfecting. If the respirator is found to be defective, report any deficiencies or malfunctions of a respirator to the AAD/appropriate OSHA manager;

      4. Notify the responsible OSHA Manager(s) or the Program Administrator when:

        1. The assigned respirator no longer fits well or is defective;

        2. Respiratory hazards not properly addressed by the respirators in use are encountered; and

        3. Where there are any concerns about the program.

  5. Procedure
    1. Respirator Selection

      The following standard operating procedures have been developed to assist employees in the proper selection of respiratory protection.

      1. Proper selection of respirators will be made in accordance with the OSHA Respiratory protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134), CPL 02-02-054A, guidance from other pertinent OSHA standards, as well as proper design logic, such as that developed jointly by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and OSHA.

      2. All respirators and cartridges will be selected based on the nature and extent of the hazard, the work requirements and conditions, and the characteristics and limitations of the respirators available. Specific guidance can be found in the Exposure Guide (Appendix A).

      3. All respiratory protection must have NIOSH approval for their intended use.

      4. Use of disposable respirators will be permitted only where users have been successfully fit tested and other criteria, including training and medical, have been met.

      5. Properly approved respirators must contain the following:

        1. A NIOSH approval number on each unit, such as TC-21C-101.

        2. A label identifying the Manufacturer and Model number of the respirator.

        3. Any information related to the limitations of the respirator.

        4. In addition to the manufacturer’s name, model number, NIOSH approval number, and use limitations, respirator cartridges must contain the identity of the contaminant(s) that will be filtered by the cartridge.

        5. Where practicable, the Program Administrator will assign respirators to individual employees for their exclusive use.

        6. Modifications will not be made to respiratory protective equipment unless required by NIOSH or the equipment manufacturer to maintain governmental approval.

    2. Medical Evaluations of Employees Required to Wear Respirators

      1. Prior to being fit tested or being required to wear a respirator, all employees who will wear a respirator will be required to be evaluated by the Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing (OOMN) designated physicians to determine the employee’s ability to safely wear a respirator.

      2. The medical protocol for determining employee fitness for wearing respiratory protection is to be administered by the OOMN with contracted support from Federal Occupational Health in accordance with OSHA Instruction PER 04-00-005.

      3. A local clinic will be used to implement OOMN procedures, which include means of documenting and recording information pertaining to the employee evaluation. The clinic will comply with the requirements of OSHA’s standard 29 CFR 1910.134, including the medical evaluation questionnaire.

      4. A physician must review the medical evaluation findings. Based on the findings, follow-up medical evaluations may be required. At this time, additional information may be requested by the reviewing physician e.g. details of actual or expected respirator use in the workplace.

      5. The examining or reviewing physician must forward the results of the medical examination to the OOMN for agency evaluation and final determination of fitness for respirator use. Documentation of each employee evaluation must be provided by the physician in the form of a written recommendation regarding the employee’s ability to wear a respirator, and will also including all restrictions limiting use.

      6. Limitations on respirator use documented by the physician must be communicated to the Regional Administrator or designee, the responsible OSHA Manager(s), and the employee. Permanent limitations on respirator use must be addressed by an Accommodation Plan, approved by the Accommodations Committee and implemented by DAP.

      7. When medical conditions prohibit an employee from wearing a negative pressure respirator, but the employee is medically cleared to wear a PAPR or SAR, the Agency must provide a PAPR or SAR for employee use.

      8. Employees will be re-evaluated by the physician whenever:

        1. An employee reports to the responsible OSHA Manager(s) any signs or symptoms that may impact safe use of the respirator;

        2. it is recommended by a physician or the responsible OSHA Manager(s) that an employee be re-evaluated;

        3. An employee is due for periodic evaluation in accordance with PER 04-00-005.

        4. Changes in workplace conditions place an added physical burden on the employee, e.g. the need to wear SCBA.

      9. The responsible OSHA Manager will coordinate the administration of the applicable sections of the Respiratory Protection Program with the Director, OOMN.

    3. Fit Testing Procedures

      Refer to fit test procedures listed in Appendix A of 29 CFR 1910.134 and additional information listed in CPL 02-02-054, Respiratory Protection Program Guidelines.

    4. Respirator Use/Limitations

      Respirator usage will be in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations for use, recognizing the limitations of use and training given the user. The respirators available, their application and limitations will be listed as part of the unit’s respirator program. An example of this listing appears in Appendix A.

      1. No facial hair that can potentially interfere with the face-to-face piece seal will be permitted. Other conditions that may interfere with the seal must be recognized and evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assure that the seal is not compromised.

      2. All other work wear and/or PPE must be worn in a manner that does not affect the face-to-face piece seal.

      3. Each user of tight-fitting respirators will perform both the positive and negative pressure seal checks described in Appendix B prior to each use.

      4. Canisters and cartridges will be changed out in accordance with a NIOSH approved end of service life indicator (ESLI). If there is no ESLI appropriate for the conditions encountered at a worksite, the employee will follow a sorbent change schedule for canisters and cartridges based on reliable information or data ensuring that canisters and cartridges are changed before the end of their service life.

      5. No respirator will be used if it has been impaired in any way, including broken strap, deformation of shape, or damaged valve.

      6. SCBA usage is limited to those medically certified to wear them. The Health Response Team should be contacted for assistance. Compressed breathing air must meet, at a minimum, the requirements for Grade D breathing air described in ANSI/Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specification for Air, G-7.1-1989. Any use of a SCBA must be coordinated with the Regional Administrator.

      7. OSHA employees are not permitted to enter known Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) atmosphere for inspection purposes. No OSHA employees with the exception of the HRT/SRT will be permitted to enter any environment requiring level A protection. Escape-only respirators must be carried where there is a potential for exposure to IDLH atmospheres.

    5. Procedures and Schedules for Care and Maintenance of Respirators

      1. A maintenance program will be established in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions for inspection, cleaning, and maintenance of respirators. Appendix B is an example of such procedures for respirator inspection, care, and maintenance.

      2. OSHA employees must clean and inspect respirators to which they are assigned or use. Cleaning and inspection procedures recommended in Appendix B-2 of 29 CFR 1910.134 or those recommended by the manufacturer (if equivalent to OSHA’s procedures) must be followed. The Program Administrator will ensure adequate supple of the appropriate cleaning agents to be used.

      3. Respirators will be stored so that they are protected against damage, contamination, dust, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and damaging chemicals. Filtering cartridges will be stored separately from the facepieces.

      4. SCBAs must be inspected monthly, maintained fully charged, and recharged when the tank pressure falls below 90% of the manufacturer’s recommended fully charged pressure level. Repairs to regulators or warning devices must only be done by the manufacturer of the SCBA or an authorized representative.

      5. Any respirator maintained for emergency use must be inspected monthly and records maintained of the inspection by the Program Administrator. The record must contain the information specified in CPL 02-02-054, IX.M.

    6. Breathing Air Supply, Quality, and Use

      1. A certificate of analysis for any compressed air used must be available in the Area Office and must reflect as a minimum the requirements of Grade D breathing air described in ANSI/Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specification for Air, G-7.1-1989, as specified in Appendix D.

      2. Compressed breathing air is used for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and Emergency Escape packs.

    7. Employee Training

      1. Training of employees on respiratory protection use must be done prior to the initial use of the respirator. The Program Administrator must have attended the OSHA Training Institute course on respiratory protection and will be responsible for providing the necessary training to all OSHA employees who use respirators unless another qualified individual is assigned the responsibility. Employees will receive training prior to being fit tested on a respirator.

      2. The Employee training must cover (at a minimum):

        1. General requirements of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard:

          1. Why the respirator is necessary;

          2. Proper selection of respirators;

          3. Respirator donning, removal, fit and seal checks, and wear;

          4. Consequences of improper fit, usage or maintenance;

          5. Limitations and capabilities of the respirator selected, ESLI and cartridge change schedules;

          6. Respirator use in emergencies (e.g. malfunction situations);

          7. Medical signs/symptoms limiting or preventing effective usage;

          8. Proper maintenance and storage procedures.

        2. Re-training of respirator users will be conducted:

          1. Annually; or

          2. Whenever conditions requiring respirators change; or

          3. When deficiencies are noted via program audits; or

          4. When completing the annual program evaluation.

    8. Program Evaluation

      The Program Administrator must conduct a review of the effectiveness of the program as necessary, but no less than annually to ensure the continued effectiveness of the program.

    9. Recordkeeping

      1. A summary of all fit test results must be maintained in the Area office for seven years (see OSHA Instruction ADM 03-01-002). These records must be considered as employees exposure records OSHA employees will be provided a Wallet Respirator Fit Test Card (OSHA Form 187) or equivalent document. A copy of the summary must include:

        1. Name of test subject.

        2. Date and type of fit testing (QNFT/QLFT).

        3. Name of the test conductor.

        4. Fit factors obtained from every respirator tested (indicate manufacturer, model, size and approval number).

        5. Name and type of facepieces) which has failed during the qualitative test or has yielded a fit factor less than those prescribed

      2. All medical records related to this program must be maintained by the OOMN.

      3. All records of required monthly inspections must be maintained by the responsible OSHA Manager(s).

      4. A copy of the written medical opinion received from the OOMN must be maintained by the responsible OSHA Manager(s) for each respirator user.



Cartridge Types

The following respirator cartridges are standard issue for use with the COMFO II/COMFO Classic half mask and ULTR-TWIN full-face cartridge respirators. Cartridge color-coding and banding are not to be changed, removed or painted over. Only MSA cartridges can be used with the MSA respirator issued. Cartridge selection as listed below is based on airborne chemical and particulate hazards. Note cartridge change out protocol at the end of this chapter.

Hazard Cartridge Type Color
Organic Vapors, Dust, and Mists:
NOTE: Protection extended to include dusts and mists by adding Type F filters and filter covers.
GMA Cartridge
Type F Filters
Black Cover and Side Band
Organic Vapors and Acid Gases:
Organic Vapors, Chlorine, Chlorine Dioxide, Hydrogen Chloride, Sulfur Dioxide
GMC Cartridge Yellow Cover and Side Band
Mists and Dusts:
Protection extended to include dusts and mists by adding Type F filters and filter covers
Type F Filter  
Organic Vapors:
Pesticides, Chlorine, Chlorine Dioxide, Hydrogen Chloride, Sulfur Dioxide, dusts, fumes, mists, Radionuclides and Asbestos
Combination Filter/Cartridge
Pink and Gold Band

User will not rely on break-through properties of site chemical as an indication as to when to change out chemical cartridges. Since the cartridges provided did not have an End of Service Life Indicator (ESLI), users will follow the protocol below for replacing cartridges.



Fit Testing Procedures
A. General Requirements
1. Respirator Selection

For purposes of fit testing, employees will select a respirator from the following types offered.
  • MSA Comfo Classic Half Mask APR
    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large
  • MSA Ultra-Twin Full Face APR
    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large
2. Selection Alternative

If a proper fit cannot be achieved using the selection offered, another make will be obtained.
  • 3M Particulate Mask
  • Air-supplying respiratory equipment
3. Practical Demonstration

For the benefit of the employee(s) to be tested the following will be demonstrated prior to the selection and fit test. If needed, mirrors can be used to assist the employee in visually observing the various steps.
  • How to put on a respirator
  • Positioning the respirator on one's face
  • How to set/adjust strap tension
  • How to determine an acceptable fit
  • Selecting the proper size is key to proper protection
4. Determining Adequacy of Respirator Fit

If the employee finds the fit unacceptable, the individual will select a different respirator and be re-tested.

Additional testing will be performed when changes in an employee’s physical condition occur that could affect respirator fit.
  • Chin properly placed in chin cup
  • Adequate strap placement/tension, not overly tight
  • Fit across nose bridge
  • Properly sized respirator spans distance from nose to chin
  • Tendency of respirators to slip
  • Self-observation in mirror to evaluate fit and position
5. User Seal Checks

For purposes of donning a respirator for fit testing, each user must conduct the respirator use procedures, consisting of both the positive and negative pressure seal checks.


  • Seal the mask on the face by moving the head from side to side and up and down slowly while taking in a few slow deep breaths.
A. Positive Pressure Check

B. Negative pressure Check
  • Close off the exhalation valve with your hand while exhaling gently into the facepiece.
  • A good fit will result in a slight positive pressure building up without leakage
  • A poor fit results in outward leakage at one or more points along the face-to-facepiece seal.

  • Close off both cartridge inlets with the palm of the hands.
  • Inhale gently so the facepiece collapses slightly.
  • Hold breath for 10 seconds.
If the respirator remains in the slightly collapsed position and no inward leakage of air is detected, the tightness of the respirator is satisfactory.
6. Interference with Facepiece Seal

Facial hair must not interfere with the face-to-facepiece seal. Beards and beard stubble are not permitted. Sideburns and mustaches that interfere with face-to-facepiece seal must be shaved or trimmed.
7. Fit test Exercise Regimen

For Qualitative and Quantitative Fit Test:

  1. Prior to entering the test chamber, the test subject shall be given complete instruction as to his/her part in the test procedures. The regimen will be performed in its entirety for each test conducted. The respirator must be worn for a least 5 minutes prior to testing/

  2. Each test exercise will be performed for one minute with the exception of the grimace, which is 15 seconds.

  3. If the fit or comfort becomes unacceptable during the test, the test is voided if respirator adjustments are done during the test.

  • Normal breathing in a standing position without talking.
  • Deep breathing, slowly and deeply while standing.
  • Turning head slowly side to side, hesitating at each extreme position for at least 5 seconds to inhale. Stand in place
  • Standing in place, the subject will slowly move his or her head up and down. The head will be held at each extreme position for at least 5 seconds
  • Read a select passage slowly and loud enough to be heard.
  • Grimace by smiling or frowning. (Perform only for Quantitative Test.)
  • Bend over at the waist. If a hood is used, jogging in place can be substituted.
  • Normal breathing.
Fit Testing Procedures
B. Qualitative Fit Test Protocol
1. General

The Program Administrator will assign a qualified individual to perform fit tests and maintain the fit test equipment.

Individuals performing fit tests will be knowledgeable in:
  • Maintaining and preparing fit test equipment and solutions.
  • Proper administration of the test protocols.
  • Be able to recognize an invalid test.
2. Saccharine Solution Aerosol Protocol

A. Taste Threshold Screening

The taste threshold screening is performed without a respirator for purposes of determining the individual's ability to detect the taste of saccharine.

Note: Eating or drinking something sweet before the screening may affect the ability to detect saccharine.
  • Individuals must wear a 3M or equivalent hood during screening.
  • The individual will breathe through their slightly open mouth exposing the tongue to the air during inhalation.
  • A 3M nebulizer or equivalent will be used to produce the aerosol.
  • Threshold check Solution A must be used for this screening. Do not use Solution B.
  • Firmly squeezes the nebulizer bulb 10 times with the nozzle inserted into the hold in the front of the hood.
  • If the individual indicates that they have detected the sweet saccharine taste, the screening test is completed.
  • If the individual does not detect the sweet taste, introduce an additional 10 squeezes of aerosol into the hood.
  • Repeat this in increments of 10 squeezes until the individual can detect the saccharine.
  • Document on the fit test report the number of squeezes introduced into the hood.

If after 30 squeezes the individual has not detected the saccharine taste, the individual is considered unable to detect saccharine and cannot be fit tested using this method.

2. Saccharin Solution Aerosol Protocol

B. Saccharine Solution Aerosol Fit Test Procedures
Individuals to be tested may not eat, drink (except water), smoke, or chew gum for 15 minutes before the test.

The 3M hood enclosure is used for this test.
For use in fit testing the 3M Dust/Particulate Mask
  • The individual to be tested will properly don the respirator.
  • Place the hood over the individual’s head.
  • A separate nebulizer identified for fit testing, other that the one used for the screening test, will be used.
  • The nebulizer is filled with fit test Solution B.
  • Instruct the individual to breathe through the slightly opened mouth and report if the sweet taste of saccharine is detected.
  • With the individual fitted in their respirator, in the hood, introduce aerosol by squeezing the nebulizer bulb 10 times.
  • Perform the fit test exercise regimen (Section A-8) above.
  • Replenish the aerosol concentration every 30 seconds during the exercise by squeezing the nebulizer 5 times.
  • The individual being tested must report any time during the test if saccharine is detected.
  • If the taste of saccharine is detected, the test is voided and must be repeated using a different respirator. The entire protocol must be repeated.
3. Irritant Smoke (Stannic Chloride)

Use for fit testing the following respirators:
  • Half-mask respirators
  • Full-face cartridge respirators
A. General Requirement and Precautions
  • During the test, the respirator will be equipped with high efficiency particulate (HEPA) or P100 series filters.
  • Only stannic chloride smoke tubes will be used.
  • Exercise caution when using an irritant.
  • Perform tests in a well ventilated area.
B. Irritant Smoke Sensitivity Screening Check
  • The person being tested must demonstrate their ability to detect a weak concentration of irritant smoke.
  • The individual performing the test will advise the individual being tested that the smoke can be mildly irritating to eyes and respiratory tract.
  • Using an aspirator bulb attached to a smoke tube, introduce a weak concentration of smoke in the direction of the individual being tested.
  • Document on the Fit Test Report the individual’s ability to detect the smoke.
C. Irritant Smoke Fit Test Procedure
  • The individual to be tested will don the respirator without assistance.
  • Each individual will perform the required user seal tests (Reference A-6).
  • As a precaution, individuals are to keep eyes closed.
  • Beginning at 12 inches and then at 6 inches, the test will make 3 passes around the entire seal area, directing the smoke toward the face-seal area.
  • At a distance of 6 inches, direct smoke around the face-seal and initiate the fit test exercise regiment (Reference A-8).
  • During the fit test, any detection of smoke by the individual being tested constitutes a failed test.
  • Re-tests require that the entire protocol be repeated.
  • Passing the fit tests without evidence of a response to the irritant smoke will require the individual to complete a second sensitivity screening check.
Fit Testing Procedures
C. Quantitative Fit Test Protocol
See Appendix A of 29 CFR 1910.134  



A. Cleaning and Disinfecting
The objective of this section is to establish procedures for effectively cleaning and disinfecting respirators in a manner that prevents damage to the respirator while protecting the user from harm.
  1. Personal respirators should be cleaned with a disinfecting moist towlette after each use.

  2. Routine use where heavy contamination occurs requires the respirator be cleaned according to the procedures in the right column after each use.

  3. Respirators used for emergency response must be cleaned after each use, and consider use of chemical decontamination procedures if needed.

  4. Sharing of half mask and full face chemical cartridges is prohibited.

  5. During respirator breakdown and reassembly, any damaged equipment must be exchanged for an entirely new device.
  • Remove filters and cartridges
  • Disassemble the facepiece by disconnecting speaking diaphragms, valve assemblies and breathing hose.
  • Make a cleaning solution by mixing water with any detergent that contains effective disinfectants (such as quaternary ammonium compounds).
  • Head the solution to 140-160° F. Immerse the facepiece in the cleaning solution.
  • Use a non-metal still bristle brush on surfaces if heaving soiled.
  • Rinse surfaces in clean warm water and air or hand dry. Use of a towel to dry the facepiece is not recommended unless a clean, lint-free towel is used.
  • If only minor cleaning is required, or no water is present, use a non-alcohol based disinfecting towlette, wiping all surfaces.
  • Reassemble the respirator, replacing all components and installing new cartridges. Perform a quick check of operations of the inhalation and exhalation valves.
b. Respirator Storage
Respirators will be stored following the manufactures’ recommended guidelines, and in such a manner to protect them from the factors to the right.
  1. Employees will use the drawstring storage bags issued for proper respirator storage.
  2. Respirators will be stored in such a manner to prevent deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.
  3. Respirators must be accessible in the work area.
  4. Emergency respirators must be stored in cases or cabinets and be clearly marked as to the contents and purpose.

Conditions resulting in damage to the respirator:
  • Contamination
  • Dust
  • Effects of sunlight (U/V rays)
  • Temperature extremes
  • Excessive moisture
  • Damaging chemicals
C. Respirator Inspections
Regular Inspections of respiratory equipment will be conducted according to the following procedures to ensure continued reliability.
  1. Routine Respirator use
    • MSA Half-Mask Air Purifying Respirator
    • MSA Full Face Air Purifying Respirator

    NOTE: Respirators found with defective parts must not be used. Employees must immediately obtain a replacement for their defective respirator with a new device of the same make and size.

  2. Emergency Respirator Protection
    • MSA Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

  3. Dust/Particulate Respirator Protection
    • Moldex 2300 Dust/Particulate Mask
    • 3M 8511 Dust/Particulate Mask
  • Routine respirators will be inspected by the owner of the respirator prior to each use and during the cleaning process.
  • During each inspection, the following items will be checked and component conditions evaluated.
    • Function
    • Tightness of connections
    • Head straps
    • Exhalation/inhalation valves
    • Cartridge and gaskets
    • All elastomeric parts for pliability and deterioration
    • Facepiece
    • Breathing tube
    • Regulator
    • Air supply

  • Emergency respirators must be inspected on a monthly basis and be checked for proper function prior to and after each use.
  • During each inspection, the following items will be checked and component condition evaluated:
    • Function
    • Tightness of connections
    • Head straps
    • Exhalation valve
    • Gaskets
    • All elastomeric parts for pliability and deterioration
    • Facepiece
    • Breathing tube
    • Regulator
    • Harness/straps
    • Audio-Alarm
    • Air supply/cylinder and valve
    • (Air cylinders must have at least 1900 psig)
  • The record of inspection must include the following documentation:
    • Date of inspection
    • Full name or signature of inspector
    • Identifier to distinguish each respirator inspected
    • Corrective actions
    • (Records retained for 5 years)
  • This equipment is a single use device
  • Inspect all elastic straps
D. Respirator Repairs
Repairs/replacement of parts will be allowed by holders of respirators for the items to the right.

Authorized personnel and manufacturer’s service representatives will make all repairs on emergency respirator equipment. When defects are encountered during inspection or use, tag out the equipment (“Do Not Use”) and report the situation to the Area Director/Unit Manager.
  • Replacement of head strap suspension at snapping point on half-masks
  • Replacement of O-ring gaskets on half-masks and full-face air purifying respirators
  • Replacement of outer cap on exhalation valve
  • Replacement of cartridges on air purifying respirators



Breathing air will meet the requirements and specifications for Grade D breathing air as specified in the Compressed Gas Association Standard G7.1-1989.

  • Percent O2
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Odor
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Cylinders



  • 19.5% - 23.5%
  • Variable from very dry to saturated; no liquid water
  • 5mg/m2
  • 10 ppm
  • No pronounced odor
  • 1000 ppm

The respirator wearer will use breathing air contained in cylinders.

  • No air will be provided from site compressors.
  • The supplier of cylinder-contained air will provide certificate of analysis and/or SDS for the breathing air obtained and the air will meet, at a minimum, Grade D quality air. The SDS can be located in the Area Office.
  • Cylinders with out-of-date frequencies or failed test results will not be reused or refilled.
  • All breathing air cylinders will be legally and permanently marked with the contents of the cylinder.