Respirators

 

Photo courtesy of L&I. Per WAC 296-842-100(1),  respirators can be a backup to primary hazard solutions, like the ventilated booth used in this photo, or as a temporary measure until other solutions are put in place

Per WAC 296-842-100(1) (945 KB PDF), respirators can be a backup to primary hazard solutions, like the ventilated booth used in this photo, or as a temporary measure until other solutions are put in place.

Photo courtesy of L&I.

The decision to use a respirator should never be a simple one.

Consider that although respirators are designed for use against airborne hazards like toxic chemicals or oxygen deficiency, their reliability to protect workers depends on managing several involved tasks, including the following:

  • Selecting the right type of respirator for the hazard.
  • Fit-testing.
  • Training the wearer, so they know how to correctly use and maintain it.
  • Creating and following use and maintenance procedures.

These tasks, and others, are part of a required written Respiratory Protection Program (945 KB PDF).

In workplaces where respirators are not required, employers may permit employees to voluntarily use them for personal comfort, when it safe to do so (945 KB PDF).  In such cases, a reduced respiratory protection program may be required, depending on the type of respirator used.

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