UWSP AIR PURIFYING RESPIRATOR – FIT TESTING TRAINING Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards (voluntary use). You need to take certain precautions to ensure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard. Medical Evaluation, Fit Testing, and Training Cartridge Respirator A medical evaluation is required for all individuals who wear a respirator at work. One exception is for individuals who voluntarily wear a “dust-mask” type respirator. However, all other respirators, even if worn on a voluntarily basis, require passing a medical evaluation prior to being worn at work. SAINTS Health Services for Business provides this service for UWSP and is coordinated by the EHS Department and paid by the employee’s department. Annual fit testing and training is also required for all individuals that wear a respirator at work. For those that voluntarily wear a dust mask, basic training is also required. Dust Mask Respirator Cleaning Procedures Ensure you keep your respirator in good condition and clean when ever necessary. Clean with 3M disposable cleaning wipes provided. Any excessively dirty respirator should be discarded and replaced. After cleaning, test the respirator to ensure that all components work properly. Fit Test Description A qualitative fit test procedure will be utilized using a 3M saccharin solution. This will be used to ensure the respirator fits well and is not defective. The fit test will consist of wearing the respirator with a special hood over your head. The saccharin solution will be sprayed into the hood and the wear will perform test exercises such as normal breathing, deep breathing, turning head, moving head, talking, and bending. Any detection of the saccharin will result in a failed test and retest or refitting will be required. Fit tests are required before wearing and then annually. Positive And Negative Fit Checks Before wearing the respirator each day, a positive and negative fit check must be performed by the wearer to ensure the respirator is in good condition and there are no defects. After you have donned the respirator correctly and ensure the straps are adjusted properly conduct both of the following: Positive pressure check: 1. Gently place the palm of the user's hand over the exhalation outlet. 2. Exhale slowly 3. The mask should bulge out slightly. 4. If the mask bulges and the user feel no leaks around the mask seal, the seal should be secure. 5. Vigorous or overly sustained exhalation can cause the seal to leak air. This should be avoided when checking the seal. 6. The face fit is considered satisfactory if a slight positive pressure can be built up inside the facepiece without any evidence of outward leakage of air at the seal. This method of leak testing may require the wearer to first remove the exhalation valve cover before closing off the exhalation valve and then carefully replacing it after the test. Negative pressure check: 1. Gently place palms of user's hands over the inhalation inlets. The inhalation inlets are located on the cartridge, canister or filter. This will prevent air from entering the mask when the user inhales. If needed, the user can use a piece of plastic to help close off the inlets. The design of the inlet opening of some cartridges cannot be effectively covered with the palm of the hand. The test can be performed by covering the inlet opening of the cartridge with a thin piece of plastic or plastic glove. 2. Inhale slowly. 3. Hold breath for about 10 seconds. The mask should collapse slightly inward. 4. If the mask collapses and the user feels no leaks around the mask seal, the seal should be secure. 5. Vigorous or overly sustained inhalation can cause the seal to leak air. This should be avoided when checking the seal. 6. If the facepiece remains in its slightly collapsed condition and no inward leakage of air is detected, the tightness of the respirator is considered satisfactory. Health Care Professional Any question regarding your medical evaluation, OSHA questionnaire, or other medical related respirator questions can be directed to SAINTS Health Services for Business, 346-5243. Changing Respirators Or Cartridges Generally change out your respirators or cartridges every eight hours of use. Also, change out your respirators or cartridges when ever it becomes difficult to breath through the filter, when there is any defects, when there odor breakthrough, or when the respirator becomes excessively dirty and can not be cleaned properly. It is better to change too early, then too late. If unsure, ask your Supervisor. Other Information Air purifying respirators do not supply oxygen. If after wearing your respirator, if you experience any problems with fit, function, or other problems or questions contact Supervisor and/or EHS Department at extension 2320 for assistance. Other types and styles of respirators are available if the above do not fit. Obtain respirator supplies through your Supervisor, EHS can be contacted for guidance on selection. Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations. Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, 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. 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 may not protect you against gases and vapors. Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else's respirator. Inspect your respirator before each use. Ensure the valves are in good condition, banding has good elasticity, no holes or cracks, ensure it is clean, and look for any other defects. Do not use defective equipment. Ensure your respirator is stored in the bag provided or other covered container when not in use. This is an OSHA requirement. Frequently Asked Question Can certain respirators, when used voluntarily, be worn over a beard? - Yes, provided they are used voluntarily and there is no hazard present that would require a respirator. However, in circumstances where respirators are necessary or required, OSHA prohibits the use of tight-fitting respirators by employees with facial hair that interferes with the seal. All fit-tests must be conducted on male individuals who are clean-shaven or where facial hair does not interfere with respirator seal. Beards are not allowed on fit testing even if used on a volunteer basis. Supplied air “hood” respirators do not require fit test and user may have facial hair. When are Medical Evaluations required? The medical evaluations and authorization is required prior to wearing a respirator at work. Only exception is for voluntary use of a “dust-mask” type respirator. Other UWSP has developed a written respirator program, properly select respirators, evaluate respirator use, correct deficiencies in respirator use, conduct medical evaluations, provide for the maintenance, storage and cleaning of respirators, and retain and provide access to specific records. This program is available at http://www.uwsp.edu/ehs/policy_downloads/respiratory.htm or in the EHS Department. Also, see http://www.uwsp.edu/ehs/Forms/Respirator%20Process%20Memo.doc for directions on how to obtain a respirator. See Supervisor or EHS Department with questions. DIRECT ALL QUESTIONS, PROBLEMS, AND OTHER ISSUES TO YOUR SUPERVISOR OR EHS DEPARTMENT. DO NOT WEAR EQUIPMENT IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING PROBLEMS.
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