Training Hero


3M Center for Respiratory Protection

Annual Respirator Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to train and fit-test employees who use respiratory protection on the job. This annual training gives you a chance to explain the importance of respiratory protection and give everyone a refresher course on properly using and caring for their equipment.

  • Woman Mask

    Your annual training must include the following:

    1. Written procedures.
    2. Respiratory hazards. 
    3. Uses and limitations.
    4. Donning and adjustment.
    5. Hands-on practice.
    6. User seal check.
    7.  Maintenance and storage.
    8.  Medical signs and symptoms.
    9.  Training documentation.

Step 1: Written Procedures

Explore Written Procedures

You must have your worksite-specific training procedures in your written respiratory protection program. Review periodically to ensure they’re up to date, and use during annual training. The 3M Administrative Respiratory Protection Program brochure can help you make sure you have the correct materials.

Download 3M Administrative Respiratory Protection Program Brochure (PDF, 683.6 KB)

Step 2: Respiratory Hazards

This is where your training session begins. Inform workers of the respiratory hazards they’re potentially exposed to during routine and emergency situations, and explain why their respirators are necessary.

The material safety data sheets for the chemicals used in your workplace contain information on the health effects and hazards of those materials. If you’re missing any, you can request material safety data sheets at

For more about training on hazardous chemicals, see the OSHA Hazard Communication standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200. If a respiratory hazard in your workplace has its own substance-specific standard (e.g., biological or radioactive hazards), refer to that standard for training requirements.

Request 3M Material Safety Data Sheets

OSHA Hazard Communication Standard


Step 3: Uses and Limitations

Explain that there’s no such thing as an all-purpose respirator, and that the respirators you provide have been chosen to address the specific hazards in your workplace. Review the uses and limitations in the instructions provided with each respirator, including the effect of improper respirator fit, usage or maintenance. The NIOSH approval label also provides some of this information.

Tell employees that — except when wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or combination airline respirator/SCBA — they must exit the contaminated area in all respirator emergency situations, including respirator malfunction.

Step 4: Donning and Adjustment

Explain that a respirator must be put on and worn properly in order to fit and offer effective protection, and that it must be inspected prior to donning each time it’s worn. Instruct and demonstrate how to properly don and adjust any respirators worn according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
Download and print a “Wear It Right” poster, and display it in your workplace year-round.

Step 5: Hands-On Practice

After you demonstrate proper donning and adjustment procedures, have each employee practice putting theirs on while talking them through the procedures.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employees must have been medically evaluated before donning the respirator and conducting a seal check. Also, fit testing is required by OSHA before a user wears a mandatory respirator on the job.

Medical Evaluation Overview

Fit Testing Overview

Step 6: User Seal Check

Once everyone is wearing a respirator, instruct them on how to conduct a user seal check to determine if the respirator has been donned and fitted properly. Explain that a positive pressure or negative pressure user seal check — sometimes referred to as a fit check — must be conducted each time the respirator is put on. Refer to user seal check procedures on each respirator package.

When the wearers have completed the user seal check procedure, ask if anyone feels any leakage around the seal of the respirator. If so, the wearer should review donning instructions, make adjustments to the fit and perform the user seal check again.

If a proper fit can’t be accomplished, the wearer must select another respirator and repeat the user seal check procedure.

Step 7: Maintenance and Storage

Talk about maintenance and storage of respirators. If your employees are responsible for the maintenance of their own reusable respirators, go over the detailed cleaning, inspection, repair and storage procedures listed in the respirators’ instruction manuals.

NOTE: Disposable respirators may simply be thrown away.

Step 8: Medical Signs and Symptoms

Teach employees to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent effective respirator use. These can be found on the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire, 1910.134, Appendix C.

OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire

Step 9: Training Documentation

Once an employee has been through the respirator training protocol and can demonstrate knowledge of the training, they meet the OSHA requirement. Document the successful completion of training and fit testing for all employees wearing respirators, and keep these records in your written respiratory protection program.

The 3M Administrative Respiratory Protection Program brochure can facilitate record keeping (link below).

The 3M Administrative Respiratory Protection Program brochure (PDF, 683.64 KB)