Respiratory Protection

Obtaining a Respirator

Summary: The University of California, Irvine (UCI) Respiratory Protection Program provides a system for complying with the requirements of the applicable regulatory standards.

The program defines the procedures for:

  • Selecting respirators (which includes performance of a respiratory hazard evaluation),
  • Medical evaluations,
  • UCI respirator user training in
    • respiratory hazards and proper respirator use, 
    • fit-testing,
    • proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergencies,
    • respirator care and maintenance,
    • atmosphere supplying respirators,
  • Evaluating program effectiveness, and
  • Voluntary use of respiratory protection.

 

As far as feasible, accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution with less toxic materials) are implemented to prevent atmospheric contamination of breathing air by harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors.

When engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators are used.  UCI, through the administration of the Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) office, selects and provides an appropriate respirator to personnel subject to this policy.  Such personnel include, but are not limited to:

  • UCI personnel in areas known to have contaminant levels requiring the use of respiratory protection;
  • UCI personnel performing operations documented to be health hazardous;
  • UCI personnel performing operations suspected of being health hazardous but for which adequate sampling data has not been obtained.

 

Prior to using a respirator, EH&S needs to evaluate the respiratory hazards in the environment where the respirator will be used. The hazard evaluation determines the need or requirement for respirator use, and the correct respiratory protection for the process or operation.

To initiate the assessment, complete the UCI EH&S Respiratory Hazard Evaluation Part 1 form. You will be contacted to discuss the information that you submitted.  After the hazard evaluation is completed, you will be advised of any follow-up actions (for example, medical evaluations, voluntary use affidavits, etc).

Fit-Test and Training

  • New Respirator Users: You will be advised to contact safety@uci.edu AFTER you have completed the required documentation to schedule your fit-test and training date.
  • Continuing Respirator Users: You are required to submit to fit-test and training ANNUALLY. Please contact safety@uci.edu to schedule an appointment.
  • Voluntary Users: There is no annual requirement for fit-test and training.
  • MEDICAL STUDENT EXTERNSHIP: Medical school students looking to pursue an externship are sometimes required to have a respirator fit-test prior to coming to the new institution.  The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) office has the equipment to perform the fit-test. To access this EH&S-sponsored benefit, you:
    • Will need to provide proof that you are medically cleared to wear a respirator.
      • If you need a medical evaluation to be cleared, contact the campus Occupational Health Programs Manager at occhlth@uci.edu , who can help you with the process. You will be asked to complete the “Respirator Medical Questionnaire (Appendix E)” to initiate the evaluation
    • Will need to ask the host institution for the type/brand/model of respirator they require you to be fit-tested on.
      • The EH&S office has limited brands in stock. If we do not have the type/brand/model required by the host institution, you will need to procure and to provide us with the respirator for your fit-test.

You may register for a fit-test AFTER you receive the medical clearance statement from the medical evaluator AND verify the respirator requirements from the host institution.  Fit-test appointments are made through safety@uci.edu.