3M Center for Respiratory Protection
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.
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.
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.
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 3M.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
For answers to questions about and/or help with annual respirator training, contact your 3M Personal Safety Division sales representative.
If you don’t know who your sales representative is, call 3M Customer Service at 1-800-328-1667, or visit the 3M website.
For assistance with the use of your 3M respirators, call 3M Technical Service at 1-800-243-4630.
For other questions related to personal protective equipment, use the contact us form (link below).