Environmental Health & Safety

Respiratory Protection Program

What is a respirator?

 A respirator is a device that protects you from inhaling dangerous substances, such as chemicals and infectious particles. Respirators are among the most important pieces of protective equipment for working in hazardous environments.
Selecting the right respirator requires an assessment of all the workplace operations, processes or environments that may create a respiratory hazard.A

Respirators come in a wide range of types and sizes, range from cheaper, single-use, disposable masks to reusable models with replaceable cartridges. There are two main categories: the air-purifying respirator, which forces contaminated air through a filtering element, and the air-supplied respirator, in which an alternate supply of fresh air is delivered. Within each category, different techniques are employed to reduce or eliminate noxious airborne contents. Except a few selected groups of employees, such as ERT team, etc., all other respirator users on campus use the air purifying respirators.  All Respirators used at UCR need to be NIOSH approved.

When should one be worn?

A respirator may at times be required to protect the health of employees when the work environment is contaminated with materials that are hazardous to breathe. At UCR, this may include but not be limited to the following:

  • Paint sprayers
  • Pesticide and fertilizer applicators
  • Hazardous materials handlers
  • Some researchers
  • Asbestos abatement employees
  • Some art studio employees
  • Employees whose exposure level is at or above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of the contaminant

Who can wear one?

Employees who need a respirator must first receive certification through the Respiratory Protection Program administered by EH&S. The program ensures employees who use respirators understand how to use respirator properly.

How do I get one?

Not everyone is physically capable of using a respirator. Employees requiring using respiratory protection are first medically approved by completing a respiratior medical evaluation and then trained and fit-tested by EH&S to receive a respirator. There is no respirator that can be use in all conditions with no limitations.  If you need a respirator, refer to the How to Get a Respirator section.

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Environmental Health & Safety

Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Health & Safety

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