Respiratory Protection Program (RPP)

This is required by OSHA and you can be fined if you don't have one!

Requirements:

Employers must first try to prevent hazardous dusts, fogs, fumes, gases, sprays and vapors from entering the work environment using engineering controls and substitution.

When this is not possible, respirators must be used to protect the health of workers (OSHA Regulation 1910.134). Shop owners are responsible for establishing and implementing a Respiratory Protection Program for workers. The written program, which you can download and fill in, must include:

  • Respirator selection based on hazards involved
  • Worker training
  • Instruction on cleaning and disinfecting respirators
  • Instruction on storage of respirators
  • Inspection and maintenance of respirators
  • Surveillance of worker exposure
  • A regular evaluation of respirator program
  • Medical evaluations of respirator users
  • Respirator fit testing of each user
  • The use of respirators approved for the task involved

Setting up the RPP for your shop:

  1. The first thing to do is download or print out the written Respiratory Protection Program (which has been approved by EPA, NIOSH, OSHA).
  2. Next, complete the Hazard Evaluation for your shop (Attachment A from the file you just downloaded). For each task, decide upon the respiratory protection needed, using suggestions and respirator information in these files:
  3. Using the forms from Attachment A, now you can begin to fill in the RPP for your shop.
  4. Print out a copy of the OSHA standard (OSHA 1910.134) and keep it with your RPP.

A Respiratory Protection Program can't help your workers if it's just sitting on a shelf!

Using the RPP

Medical Evaluations

Employees must have a medical evaluation by a licensed health care professional (such as a doctor) before wearing a respirator on the job.

  • Each employee must fill out the medical questionnaire (Attachment B) which will be reviewed by the doctor. Note that questions in Part B do not need to be answered unless the doctor requests them, and questions 10-15 in Part A Section 2 only need to be answered if full-face respirators are used.
  • You must also give the doctor:
    1. one copy of Table 2, which shows what exposures are at your shop, and
    2. a copy of Table 3 for each employee, which shows what tasks that employee does.
  • The doctor may require that each employee perform spirometry (breathing tests) before deciding whether to certify that employee for respirator use. Spirometry can be done at the doctor's office or possibly at the shop by a health care professional.
  • The doctor should give you a signed certificate for each employee stating whether he or she is fit to wear a respirator at work. See a sample respirator fitness certificate…

Respirator Fit Testing

Employees should be fit tested on their respirators before using them. Ask your supplier if they will do the testing or can recommend someone else. The testing must be repeated at least once a year. See a sample fit testing record…

Note: it is possible to do the fit testing for your employees using one of the methods given in Appendix A of the RPP standard (pages 15-30) but you might need some help learning how to do it.

Respirator Training

Employees should be trained in the use of respirators. See a sample Respirator Training Session…

Some items which might be included in the training:

At the completion of the training, an evaluation checklist for the training should be filled out for each employee (see sample RPP training record…) and a certificate signed by employee and instructor (see sample respirator training certificate…).

Need More Information?

More information about the Respiratory Protection Program is available from the OSHA website