6.0 Respiratory Equipment

This section contains operating instructions and limitations for respiratory equipment that may be used at UNR. The following use limitations apply to all use of respiratory protective devices used at UNR:

6.0.1.

Facial hair that interferes with face to mask fit shall not be permitted.

6.0.2.

The Medical Questionnaire must be completed.

6.0.3.

Written medical clearance from a designated physician must be obtained.

6.0.4

Training and fit testing must be successfully completed prior to use and annually thereafter.

6.0.5

If an employee exhibits/experiences difficulty in breathing (that is unrelated to respirator function) during testing or use, he/she shall be referred to a physician to determine fitness to use such equipment while performing assigned duties.

Not everyone can wear respirators. Individual with impaired lung function, due to asthma or emphysema for example, may be physically unable to wear a respirator. Individuals who cannot get a good facepiece fit, including those individuals whose beards or sideburns interfere with the facepiece seal, will be unable to wear tight fitting respirators.

Respirators may also present communication problems, vision problems, fatigue and reduced work efficiency. Nonetheless, it is sometimes necessary to use respiratory protection as the means of control.

6.1 Filtering Face-pieces (N95 respirators)

6.1.1. Availability and types for use.

N95 respirators of various kinds, including disposable types, may be used for protection against low concentrations of certain nuisance dusts (such as dust generated while sweeping floors or sanding wood). Only the N95 respirators which incorporate a surgical mask are designed to be fluid resistant to splash and spatter of blood and other infectious materials.

6.1.2. Limitations.

N95 respirators provide no protection against gases, vapors or toxic contaminants. They will not protect the user in atmospheres containing oil aerosols. Since they supply no oxygen, they cannot be used in oxygen deficient atmospheres. These masks must not be used for work involving hazardous particulates such as asbestos.

6.1.3. Procedure.

When a N95 respirators is required for a job situation, the user should:

6.1.3.a.

Put on the N95 respirators and adjust it for proper fit. Some masks have adjustable face sealing areas.

6.1.3.b.

Discard an N95 respirator upon observation of damaged or missing parts, if the mask becomes contaminated with dust or fluids and/or if excessive clogging of the respirator causes breathing difficulty. If the N95 respirator has a replaceable dust filter, replace the dust filter with a new one when normal breathing becomes difficult.

6.2 Air-Purifying Half Mask Respirators

6.2.1. Availability and types for use.

Half mask respirators are the most widely used types of respirators; several brands and sizes are available on the market to assure employee comfort and a satisfactory fit. Various types of filters, chemical cartridges and combination filter cartridges are available for employee protection.

6.2.2. Limitations.

Since this type of respirator does not supply air, it cannot be used in oxygen deficient atmospheres, in IDLH atmospheres or in untested confined spaces. It can only be used for protection against the contaminants and the concentration limits listed on the cartridge. The wearer should leave an area immediately if gas/vapor is smelled inside the mask or if breathing resistance increases.

An air purifying respirator should not be used for contaminants which do not display adequate odor or other warning properties without implementation of a cartridge change- out schedule that is based on the specific air contaminants and expected exposure. Cartridges shall be changed in accordance with the chemical break-through information contained in Appendix B. A half mask respirator shall not be worn when facial hair extends under the face mask sealing area.

6.2.3. Procedure

To put on and adjust the half mask respirator:

6.2.3.a.

Hold the mask so the narrow nose cup points upward.

6.2.3.b.

Grasp both lower mask straps and hook them behind the neck, allowing the chin to fit in first.

6.2.3.c.

Grasp both top straps and hook them behind the head and above the ears, making sure of a proper fit on the nose.

6.2.3.d.

Adjust the straps so the fit is snug but comfortable by pulling both straps simultaneously to the rear and not outward.

6.2.3.e.

Check for leaks by performing a qualitative negative/positive pressure user seal check. (See qualitative fit testing section.)

6.2.3.f

Each user of respiratory protective equipment must inspect, clean, and maintain the respirator after each use. Any parts showing wear must be replaced at this time with parts approved for the specific respirator.

6.3 Air-Purifying Full Face Mask Respirators

6.3.1. Availability and types for use

Full face mask respirators provide more protection than half masks because their shape allows a better mask-to-face seal. They also protect the eyes from irritating chemicals or particulate atmospheres. Full face masks may be equipped with the various types of air purifying filters, chemical cartridges, combination filter cartridges, chin canisters and gas mask canisters depending upon the protection required. Additionally, full face masks may be used in conjunction with supplied air systems such as SCBA units (see Sections 7.5 & 7.6).

6.3.2. Limitations

Air purifying full face mask respirators has the same limitations as air purifying half mask respirators. Additionally, standard eye glasses interfere with the mask to face seal; therefore contact your supervisor and/or the Environmental Health & Safety Department for more information on obtaining proper eyeglasses inserts.

6.3.3. Procedure

To put on a full face mask:

6.3.3.a.

Loosen all straps, pull the harness over the head, and place the chin in the chin cup.

6.3.3.b.

Pull the head harness well down on the back of the head.

6.3.3.c.

Tighten the harness gently, starting with the bottom straps and then the middle and top straps.

6.3.3.d.

Check for leaks by performing a qualitative negative/positive pressure user seal check. (See qualitative fit testing section.)

6.3.3.e.

Each user of respiratory protective equipment must inspect, clean, and maintain the respirator after each use. Any parts showing wear must be replaced at this time with parts approved for the specific respirator.

6.4 Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR)

6.4.1. Availability and types for use

Special work projects (BSL-3 labs, extensive asbestos abatement, unusual painting jobs, etc.) may require additional levels of respiratory protection or comfort not supplied by conventional negative pressure air-purifying respirators. Unlike the previously described half face mask and full face mask air purifying respirators which depend on the wearer's own ability to draw air in through the respirator cartridges, PAPRs use a battery powered blower to force filtered air into the face mask under positive pressure. The feature permits the equipment to be used in atmospheres with chemical concentrations exceeding the protection factor limitations of more conventional negative pressure air purifying respiratory equipment. PAPRs will force air to the outside of the mask at any face seal failure point.

6.4.1. Limitations

If powered airflow into the facemask fails (such as in the event of a battery failure), PAPRs become negative pressure air-purifying respirators, providing a reduced level of protection. These units are subject to similar limitations as negative pressure air purifying respiratory protective equipment. Contaminants should possess good warning properties, cartridges should be changed out in accordance with the information contained in Appendix B, and ambient oxygen concentrations must be adequate to support life.

6.4.2 Procedure

Equipment use requirements will vary depending upon individual case circumstances and equipment. Contact the Environmental Health & Safety Department to evaluate individual case circumstances.

6.5 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)

No SCBA equipment is known to exist on campus. SCBA usage requires special approval. Specialized training equipment and procedures are required. In the event of an emergency requiring emergency egress into a building or room where an unknown or IDLH respiratory hazard exists, local fire or emergency rescue authorities, or hazardous materials contractors, are to be contacted to make all required entries.

6.6 Airline (Supplied Air) Respirators

No airline respirator equipment is known to exist on campus. Airline respirators require special approval. Specialized training equipment and procedures are required. In the event of an emergency requiring emergency egress into a building or room where an unknown or IDLH respiratory hazard exists, local fire or emergency rescue authorities, or hazardous materials contractors, are to be contacted to make all required entries.