Some job positions may require use of a respirator during the course of performance of job duties. The information below outlines OSHA standards and recommendations related to respirator use.
Appendix D to 1910.134 (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required
Under the Standard
Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn.
Respirator use is encouraged, even when exposures are below the exposure limit, to provide an additional level
of comfort and protection for workers. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the
respirators itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid
exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substances does not exceed the limits set by OSHA
standards. If your employer provides respirators for your voluntary use, or if you provide your own respirator,
you need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard.
You should do the following:
1. Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and
warnings regarding the respirator’s limitations.
2. Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
certifies respirators. A label or statement of certification should appear on the respirator or respirator
packaging. It will tell you what the respirator is designed for and how much it will protect you.
3. Do not wear your respirator into atmospheres containing contaminants for which your respirator is not
designed to protect against. For example, a respirator designed to filter dust particles will not protect
you against gases, vapors, and very small solid particles of fumes or smoke.
4. Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else’s respirator.
[63 FR 1152, Jan. 8, 1998; 63 FR 20098, April 23, 1998]