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Respiratory Protection
National Summary

This topic covers OSHA’s respiratory protection rules (29 CFR 1910.134).

Occupational diseases can be caused by contaminated air and must be controlled using accepted engineering controls, which include enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials. Where controls are not in place or are not feasible, respirators must be used by employees. Workplaces with respirators must establish a written respiratory protection program that includes employee training, medical evaluations, and fit-testing procedures.

For related resources and training materials, refer to the following topics:

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Directives 07/14/2000 - Respiratory Protection Program Guidelines 07/22/2003National
Directives 07/27/2007 - [CPL 03-00-005] - National Emphasis Program ? Microwave Popcorn Processing Plants 07/27/2007National
Directives 10/27/1980 - CPL 2-2.29 - 29 CFR 1910.134(e)(5)- Respirator Fit-Testing 07/16/2003National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.139 [This section was removed. See 68 FR 75776, 75780, Dec. 31, 2003.  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.134 Respiratory protection  National
Final Rules 29 CFR 1910 - Additional Ambient Aerosol CNC Quantitative Fit Testing Protocols: Respiratory Protection Standard 09/26/2019National
Regulations 29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926 - Respiratory Protection; Mechanical Power Presses; Scaffold Specifications; Correction and Technical Amendment  National
Interpretations Acceptable use of an electronic medical questionnaire system to comply with 1910.134(e).[1910.134(e); 1910.134App.C] 08/16/2002National
Interpretations Additional Enforcement Policy Change for Respiratory Protection Required for Abrasive Blasting. 03/31/1997National
Questions & Answers After an employee has a preemployment respirator physical what type of annual respirator testing should be conducted on respirator-approved employees? 06/23/2010National
Questions & Answers After use and cleaning do the cartridges need to be stored in a bag away separate from the rest of the half mask and then assembled when put back in use? 09/19/2014National
Interpretations Appendix A requirements and techniques for fit testing respirators. 08/27/1999National
Questions & Answers Are both audible alarms and separate visual (strobe) alarms required for supplied air respiratory equipment which includes both air filtration and CO monitoring of the Grade D breathing air system? 05/30/2019National
Questions & Answers Are there specific requirements for emergency escape respirators? 04/25/2008National
Questions & Answers As the COVID-19 crisis continues, can employers require and mandate the use of surgical masks in the workplace? What measures should be taken if the employee refuses or has an underlying medical condition that prevents their ability to wear a mask? 03/20/2020National
Forms Assigned Protection Factor Table  National
Guidance Documents Assigned Protection Factors  National
Interpretations Beards may not interfere with face seal;alternative respirators for bearded employees.[1910.134; 1910.134(d)(1)(i); 1910.134(g)(1)(i)] 03/07/2003National
Interpretations Belt mounted filtration unit used with any NIOSH approved supplied-air respirator.[1910.134] 09/04/1996National
Training Tips Breathe Easier Knowing Respirator Training Rules  National
Interpretations Breathing air: testing and carbon monoxide alarm.[1910.134(i)] 04/25/1994National
Questions & Answers Can I send my employees to their own doctors for a respiratory physical? 01/26/2010National
Training Activities Carbon Monoxide Safety Activity (Word)  National
Interpretations Clarification of a PLHCP under the Respiratory protection standard. 01/02/1999National
Interpretations Clarification of OSHA denial of FirePASS's variance request and respiratory protection requirements in oxygen-deficient atmospheres. 05/01/2008National
Interpretations Clarification of OSHA's requirement for breathing air to have at least 19.5 percent oxygen content. [1910.134; 1910.134(d)(2)(i)(A); 1910.134(d)(2)(i)(B); 1910.134(d)(2)(iii)] 04/02/2007National
Interpretations Clarification of respirator costs, annual training, and "effective" seal checks. 12/23/1998National
Interpretations Clarification of the medical evaluation provisions of the revised respiratory protection standard. 11/16/1998National
Interpretations Clarification of the respiratory protection medical evaluation. 12/22/1998National
Interpretations Clarification on equivalent test nebulizer for qualitative fit tests.[1910.134] 11/13/2009National
Interpretations Clarification on whether to use quantitative or qualitative fit-testing for full-facepiece PAPRs. 07/23/2007National
Interpretations Classification of fires; respiratory protection to extinguish fires. [1910.134(b); 1910.134(g)(4); 1910.155(c)(26); 1910.156(a)(2)] 07/08/2002National
Handouts Color Coding Chart for Cartridges and Canisters  National
Interpretations Compliance from OSHA for an inflatable fall arrest device. [1926.502] 03/15/1995National
Interpretations Complying with the "two-in, two-out" policy for interior structural firefighting. 03/12/1999National
Interpretations Conduct of respiratory protection medical evaluations by medical technicians. 10/16/1998National
Handouts Controlled Negative Pressure REDON: Calculating Overall Fit Factor  National
Interpretations Decontamination of SCBA second stage regulators. 11/02/1998National
Interpretations Discrepancy between the Joint Commission and OSHA posting requirements for isolation rooms.[1910.145] 11/05/1996National
Questions & Answers Do you have a health questionaire for respirator usage? 09/16/2009National
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