The Safety & Health Consultation Program
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0837
Voice: (404) 894-2646
FAX: (404) 894-8275

Model Respiratory Protection Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Safety and Health Standards (29 CFR 1910.134(b)(1), state "written standard operating procedures governing the selection and use of respirators shall be established". The attached sample respirator program is designed to aid industrial establishments which need a respirator program but do not have one. By following the outline presented in this program, a company should be able to prepare an acceptable respirator plan of its own. No general plan can completely cover all industry; therefore, each company should modify the program as necessary to fit its own needs. The respirator program must be implemented and enforced, not merely exist on paper.




(a) Overall supervision of the respirator program shall be the responsibility of:

(b) Selection of respirators and training in their use shall be the responsibility of:

(c) Storage, cleaning, and maintenance of respirators shall be the responsibility of:

(d) Proper wearing and use of respirator shall be the responsibility of each employee assigned a respirator.


(a) All respirators used shall be approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and by the Mining Safety and Health Administration (NIOSH/MSHA).

(b) Respirators shall be used for protection against only those air contaminants for which they are approved.

(c) The following respirators must be used to provide protection to employees:

Area - Employees
Respirator Type
Air Contaminant

(d) The following respirators may be used for the comfort and convenience of employees, at their option:

Area - Employees
Respirator Type
Air Contaminant

(e) The following respirators are for emergency use only and are not intended for routine use under normal conditions:

Area - Employees
Respirator Type
Air Contaminant


(a) The manufacturer's instructions which come with each type of respirator are the guidelines to be used for proper wearing, use, maintenance and storage of respirator.

(b) A copy of the manufacturer's instructions for each type of respirator is appended to this program and forms part of this program.

(c) In additional to the general storage requirements detailed in the manufacturer's instructions, the following locations are to be used for storage:

Area - Employees
Type of Respirator
Storage Location


(a) Special procedures shall be established for use of respirators in atmospheres which are immediately dangerous to life or health.

(b) In general, rescue personnel shall be nearby with proper rescue equipment and in communication with the persons in the dangerous atmosphere.

(c) Specific precautions and rescue procedures are as follows:

Area - Employees
Respirator Type
Precautions and/or

Rescue Procedure


(a) Supervisors and workers shall be instructed in the proper maintenance and usage of respirators.

(b) The training session will inform potential users of respirators on:

1. The limitations of respirators.

2. Cleaning respirators or immediate disposal after using a throw-away type dust mask.

3. The proper method of storing respirators out of the working environment.

4. How to check the respirator for any defects that might need repairing.

(c) Employees will sign a record and date it to show that they received instruction on how to handle and maintain a respirator required by the company or requested by them.


(a) Respirators increase breathing resistance and may lead to breathing difficulty and cardiovascular stress when employees attempt to work beyond their capacity. Employees will be assigned to tasks requiring the use of a respirator only after a physician has determined that the employee is physically able to perform the work and use the required respiratory protective equipment. The specific findings of the evaluation are part of the medical record for each employee and will be kept confidential.

(b) _________________________ will provide the medical evaluations.

(c) The medical evaluation for respirator use shall be updated annually, or at the interval recommended by the physician, and the date recorded below:

Employee Name 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004


(a) Because improperly fit respirators do not provide adequate protection against air contaminants and give workers a false sense of protection, workers will be fit-tested with each type of negative pressure respirator they are assigned to wear.

(b) Fit-testing will be quantitative or qualitative.

1. In qualitative fit-testing the respirator wearer enters a test chamber filled with a challenge agent such as irritant smoke, isoamyl acetate, or saccharin. The wearer must go through a series of movements and indicate whether the challenge agent is sensed inside the respirator. If the wearer does not sense the challenge agent, the respirator "fits" adequately, and a pre-determined minimum protection factor is assigned. If the wearer indicates that the challenge agent is not sensed, then the respirator does not "fit", and the wearer should be fit-test with a different make or style of respirator.

2. In quantitative fit-testing the respirator wearer enters a test chamber filled with a test substance such as oil or sodium chloride mist, or the ambient particulate matter is used as a test substance. The respirator wearer must go through a series of movements, and the concentration inside and outside the respirator is measured by an appropriate analytical technique. If the lowest of the calculated fit-factors for three trials is greater than the pre-determined minimum fit-factor, the minimum fit-factor is assigned. If it is less than the minimum fit-factor the wearer should be fit-test with a different make or style of respirator.

3. All fit-tests will be documented and become a part of the medical record for the employee. Employees shall have access to these records, pursuant to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.20.

Employee Name
Date of Fit Test Fit Test Method Used




(a) This program is to be reviewed as often as necessary to keep it up to date, but at least annually.