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RESPIRATORY PROTECTION TRAINING REQUIREMENTS

This video is about the respiratory protection training requirements for any worker who is required to wear a respirator. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration - also called "OSHA" - and State OSHA Agencies require employers to provide free respiratory protection training to workers who wear respirators on the job.

This video provides a brief overview and general information about respiratory protection training requirements. It does not cover all of the training required under federal OSHA or State OSHA respiratory protection standards. This video can be a part of the OSHA-required respiratory protection training, which includes many topics, like how to put on and take off a respirator and how to use, clean, and maintain your respirator. Your employer must also provide you with worksite-specific training.

While this video discusses some of your employer's training responsibilities under OSHA's respiratory protection standard, it is important to remember that the purpose of a respirator is to protect your health and safety.

A respirator can't protect you if you don't know how to use it properly. In addition, there is other important information that you must know about your respirator. Therefore, your employer must provide you with respirator training before you use a respirator on the job.

This training must be presented in a way that you can understand and must include at least the following information:

  • Why you need to use the respirator;
  • What the respirator can and cannot do to protect you;
  • How to properly inspect, put on and take off, and use your respirator;
  • How to check the seal of your respirator (also called a "user seal check");
  • How to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations, including situations in which the respirator doesn't work properly;
  • How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent you from using a respirator;
  • How improper fit, usage, or maintenance can reduce your respirator's ability to protect you;
  • What the procedures are for maintenance and storage of the respirator; and
  • What the requirements are for federal OSHA's or your State OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standards.

You should ask questions if you do not understand the information that is being provided to you.

Basic training can be provided by an outside party, including a union, a contractor's association, or a past employer. However, it is still your current employer's responsibility to provide worksite-specific training and to ensure that you can demonstrate the knowledge to safely and correctly use your respirator.

You must be trained before you use a respirator, but this is not the only time that training is required.

If you use a respirator at work, you must be trained at least every 12 months. This annual retraining will refresh your memory on the information and skills you need to use a respirator correctly. It gives you a chance to practice with a respirator and to ask questions and discuss worksite-specific respirator use with your instructor.

OSHA requires additional retraining when:

Changes in your workplace or the type of respirator you use make your previous training out-of-date. For example,

  • You get a new work assignment that has different respiratory hazards and respirator requirements from your old job; or
  • You can't remember the information and skills you need to properly use your respirator. This could occur when you use a respirator only a few times a year; or
  • A situation comes up in which retraining is necessary to ensure safe respirator use. For example, your supervisor sees that you're not using your respirator properly.

Learning and remembering the knowledge and skills you need to use your respirator correctly will help ensure that your respirator protects you.

You do not have to go through basic respirator training every time you change jobs. Your current employer is permitted to accept basic respirator training that you have received from an outside party within the last 12 months. This is known as "training portability." For example, the training could have been provided by a union, an apprenticeship program, a contractor's association, a past employer, or another current employer. This means that your respirator training can "follow" you from employer to employer, as long as you can demonstrate the knowledge and skills you need to use a respirator correctly. In this case, your employer may only be required to train you on the skills and knowledge that you cannot demonstrate. In addition, your employer must train you on the site-specific hazards, policies and procedures, and any other information you will need to safely and properly use your respirator.

Your current employer or an outside party must retrain you in all of the training elements no later than 12 months from the date of your previous training.

This video has provided you with a brief overview of OSHA's respiratory protection training requirements. There are many other things that you must know and do before you can safely use a respirator in a hazardous work environment. While this video may be a part of your respiratory protection training, your employer must also provide you with additional training on respirators, including worksite-specific training. Remember, if you don't know if a respirator is needed for the task you will be doing, or if you are unsure about how to properly use a respirator or which filter or cartridge to use, talk to your supervisor before entering the hazardous area.

For more information about respirator use in your workplace, refer to these OSHA and NIOSH websites. You will find OSHA's respiratory protection standard, additional respirator training videos, and other guidance material to help you work safely.