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Control Respiratory Hazards

Respiratory hazards can include airborne contaminants such as dusts, mists, fumes, and gases, or oxygen-deficient atmospheres. Well designed and maintained engineering controls are the preferred methods of controlling worker exposure to hazardous contaminants in the air. These control methods include:

Administrative controls may be used in addition to engineering controls. Administrative controls limit workers' exposures by scheduling reduced work times in contaminant areas or by implementing other such work rules. These control measures have many limitations because the hazard is not removed. Administrative controls are not generally favoured because they can be difficult to implement, maintain and are not reliable.

Workers should use respirators for protection from contaminants in the air only if other hazard control methods are not practical or possible under the circumstances. Respirators should not be the first choice for respiratory protection in workplaces. They should only be used:

Workers with beards, long sideburns, or even a two-day stubble may not wear respirators because the hair breaks the seal between the skin and the respirator mask. Wearing eyeglasses would also break the respirator seal. This means that the respirator mask will "leak" and will not provide the needed respiratory protection. Also, if a worker has facial scars or an acne problem, the facial skin may not be able to form a good seal with a respirator mask.

Fit Testing

1. Contact the Safety Office (Ext. 36268) to arrange fit testing.
2. A fit test certificate will be issued by the Safety Office.




Loosen all straps.


Place respirator on face so that the inside portion of the face piece containing the exhalation valve is under the chin.


Hold mask on face with one hand and place plastic headband on head so that the top strap is on the top of the head and the bottom strap rests above the ears on the back of the head.


Hook the bottom elastic strap behind the neck below the ears.


Hold the respirator in the proper position with one hand and tighten the upper elastic straps one at a time by pulling upward away from the face piece. Maintain equal adjustment on both straps.


Adjust the bottom straps by pulling down and away from the face piece. Maintain equal adjustment on both straps.


Secure excess straps with sliding plastic bands attached to straps.


Qualitative Fit Testing


Completely cover inlet openings to the air purifying elements with the palms of the hands.


Inhale so that face piece collapses (negative pressure) and hold breath for 10 seconds. The fit of the respirator is satisfactory if the face piece remains collapsed for the duration of the test.


Completely cover the outlet opening with the palm of the hand.


Exhale so that the face piece is slightly distended and hold breath for 10 seconds. The fit of the respirator is satisfactory if the face piece remains slightly distended for the duration of the test.




Unscrew air purifying cartridges and discard if there is evidence of contamination or damage. (Do not wash Air Purifying cartridges)

2. Wash entire face piece with mild soap and warm water.
3. Rinse face piece in warm water, shake excess water off and allow to dry away from direct sunlight or heat.
4. Place respirator back in plastic bag and store


Respirator Selection

Choosing a respirator is a complicated matter. The Safety Office can help you choose a suitable respirator only after they have evaluated all relevant factors.