Respiratory Protection

Policy Information
Policy TitleRespiratory Protection
Responsible OfficeEnvironmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
Policy TypeEnvironmental Health
Policy Number1008
Last Revision Date10/24/2023


The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) will coordinate respiratory protection program activities that include qualitative fit testing, ordering, maintenance, training, and record keeping.  These activities are based on the requirements set forth in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134.  Although EH&S is responsible for administration of the program, Management Procedure Number 1019 identifies those positions having the responsibility and authority for achieving program objectives.

Each department head is obligated and authorized to stop any unsafe activity that involves a student, a faculty or staff member, or a visitor under their cognizance. This includes the improper use or (non-use) of respiratory protection devices. The department head is expected to obtain assistance from EH&S in providing this program for their department.

Supervisors must be familiar with and inform employees and students of hazardous and potentially hazardous air contaminants associated with an operation.  If a supervisor cannot provide this information, or if a special assessment of an area or operation must be made, assistance can be requested through EH&S.  The supervisor must also be able to assure that those persons understand and participate in the Respiratory Protection Program i.e., receive training, properly use and maintain respirators, keep records.

Individuals participating in the Respiratory Protection Program must properly wear their respirators wherever the threat to health and safety from airborne contaminants exists.  Participants must also maintain their equipment as directed.

Respirator Program

  1. Written standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be developed by the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) and will be used in the selection, use, and maintenance of respiratory equipment at Binghamton University. These procedures may only be amended by EH&S.
  2. Only Mine Safety and Health Administration/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (MSHA/NIOSH)-certified respirators will be selected and used.  The selection will be based on the hazard(s) to which the worker will be exposed.
  3. All users will be instructed in respiratory protection and trained in the proper selections, use, and maintenance of a respirator. Instruction and training will include: rights and responsibilities; types of respirators and their operation; hands-on orientation with a respirator type; fitting instructions and practice; testing the face-to-face piece seal; wearing it in normal air for a long familiarity period; and wearing it in a test atmosphere.  Instruction and training will be provided by EH&S annually.
  4. Persons with beard growth, long sideburns, a skullcap that projects under the face piece, temple pieces on glasses, or any other condition that prevents a good face seal should not be allowed to use a respirator.
  5. To assure proper protection, the user will check the face piece fit every time the respirator is put on.  This will be accomplished by performing the positive and negative pressure fit check (some types not applicable e.g., positive-air pressure respirator).
  6. Respirators will be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Those assigned to individuals will be cleaned after each day's use, at minimum.
  7. A routine inspection of the respirator will be made.  Worn, damaged, or deteriorated parts identified during inspection must be corrected before the equipment is used again.  Respirators used frequently may be inspected during cleaning.  Emergency equipment, such as SCBA's or respirators stored for long periods should be inspected monthly and after each use.
  8. All respirators will be sealed in a protective container to prevent equipment damage and contamination. They should be stored in a clean and sanitary location.
  9. Department heads and/or supervisors should request the surveillance of work area conditions and degree of employee exposure or stress. Surveillance requests can be made to EH&S and a report will be provided with recommendations.
  10. This program will be evaluated regularly by EH&S and may include inspections of respirators used, maintenance records, and real-time industrial hygiene sampling.
  11. Persons will not be assigned to tasks requiring the use of respirators unless it has been determined that they are physically able to perform the work and use the equipment .  An occupational healthcare provider will make this determination and will include a physical examination, pulmonary function test (spirometry), work history, and if deemed necessary, a baseline chest x-ray.
  12. Persons who voluntarily use a respirator (where not required) for personal comfort shall be informed of their rights and the limitations of respirators according to appendix D of the Resp. Std.1910. 134.