Washington State University

Revised 12-08
Environmental Health and Safety

Respiratory Protection Program

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To help ensure the health of employees at Washington State University, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) administers the respiratory protection program.

Prior to respirator use:

Respiratory Hazards and Controls

Upon request by units or employees, EH&S conducts respiratory hazard assessments of work tasks to determine if respiratory protection is needed.

NOTE: Before EH&S approves respirators for employee protection, units must reduce employee hazard exposure by utilizing engineering or procedural controls or by substituting less hazardous chemicals for hazardous ones. Engineering controls may include fume hoods or local exhaust (e.g., flex hose extending directly from ceiling duct). Procedural controls may include wet methods of working and cleaning to control airborne dust.

Once EH&S identifies a hazard, employees are to wear respirators as long as the hazard exists or until the unit removes or controls the hazard and receives clearance from EH&S.

Tasks Requiring Hazard Assessment

Respiratory protection is to be considered when tasks create dusts, mists, fumes, or vapors. The following tasks typically require a respiratory hazard assessment:

For tasks not listed above and/or to determine whether or not a respirator is needed, contact EH&S for assistance.


Before any employee uses a respirator at the University, the following steps must be completed:

Hazard Assessment

EH&S must perform a workplace hazard assessment.

Medical Questionnaire

The employee must complete a confidential medical questionnaire supplied by EH&S.

Health Care Professional Review and Approval

EH&S sends copies of the hazard assessment and medical questionnaire to a licensed health care professional for review. The review process allows a licensed health care professional to medically clear an individual for respirator use and to set a schedule for future reviews. Licensed health care professionals typically medically clear individuals for one to three years. EH&S requests licensed health care professionals to perform medical evaluations at least as frequently as required by the applicable Washington Administrative Code.

EH&S has agreements with several licensed health care professionals throughout the state who review hazard assessments and medical questionnaires upon request. Contact EH&S for more information.


The licensed health care professional charges a fee to evaluate the employee's medical questionnaire and hazard assessment. Additional fees may apply if the health care professional requires that the employee receive a physical examination or other medical evaluations prior to being cleared to use a respirator. The employing department is responsible for paying all such fees.

Fit Test and Training

Once medical clearance is obtained, EH&S schedules the employee for a respirator fit test and training.


Once the fit test and training are completed, EH&S provides the individual with a copy of an approved Hazard Assessment/ Respirator Authorization form as a record of respirator training and fit testing.

Purchasing Respirator

Departments may purchase respirators through University Stores or from other vendors. When purchasing a respirator from University Stores, the employee must present a copy of the approved Hazard Assessment/Respirator Authorization form.



The unit supervisor is responsible for ensuring that employees follow the University's respiratory protection program requirements.

The supervisor ensures that:


Each employee who uses a respirator is responsible for:


EH&S manages the University's respiratory protection program. Contact EH&S for further information and assistance; telephone 335-3041.

An industrial hygienist at EH&S is the University's Respirator Program Administrator. The Respirator Program Administrator or an EH&S-certified individual is responsible for: