Respiratory Protection

Program Purpose

UC Merced is committed to protecting the health of the campus community through the development and implementation of engineering controls to reduce and/or eliminate airborne contaminants.

However, when these controls are not feasible, or do not reduce the risk below published standards, UC Merced has developed a Respiratory Protective Equipment Program in compliance with the CAL/OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard. This program serves as a guideline for the selection, administration and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment by outlining specific protocols necessary to protect employees from harmful exposures through the use of individualized workplace assessments, confidential medical evaluations, fit-testing and training for proper use of respirators.

For additional details, please refer to UC Merced's Respiratory Protective Equipment Program Manual.

Program Procedures

Respiratory protective equipment is only used as a "last line of defense," and as a result, requires individual assessment and training by EH&S personnel. Proper fitting and use is key to respirator efficacy, so EH&S requires all individuals who believe one or more of their job tasks require respiratory protective equipment to contact EH&S. The following steps will be taken:

  1. A workplace hazard assessment will be performed to determine if the task requires respiratory protective equipment.
    • If the task does not require respiratory equipment but the employee wishes to use such equipment, he or she must complete Appendix D of the Respiratory Protective Equipment Manual and return the bottom portion of the form to EH&S. This form provides information in accordance with OSHA Sec. 1910.134 regarding voluntary use of respirators when not required under the standard.
  2. If respiratory protective equipment is necessary, the employee will be given a medical evaluation questionnaire to fill out as well as a supplement to the medical questionnaire that outlines the findings of the hazard assessment conducted by EH&S. Both forms should be taken to a contract physician or licensed health care professional (PLHCP) who will perform a confidential medical evaluation to determine the employee's fitness to wear a respirator.
  3. When the employee is approved to wear a respirator for the job task(s) outlined in the hazard assessment, the appropriate respirator will be selected and the employee will be fit-tested following CAL/OSHA's accepted fit-testing protocol. Fit-testing assures the selected respirator is worn correctly to allow proper performance.
  4. During fit-testing, the employee receives training on the appropriate method(s) to store, handle and sanitize the respirator.
  5. Once initial fitting and training is completed, the employee must enroll in and attend yearly training conducted by EH&S through the UC Learning Center. Employees will be authorized to register for the "Basic Respiratory Protection" course to fulfill the annual training requirement.