Where engineering controls are not feasible in completely controlling exposure to dusts, mists, or chemical agents, Louisiana State University encourages the use of respirators for protection from inhalation of these products. In some instances OSHA regulations may require the use of a respirator due to potential overexposure to a particular agent. In most instances, however, the use may be recommended to provide comfort or added protection to the individual. This added protection is the choice of the individual and constitutes “voluntary” protection.

The respiratory protection program is provided in the appendix. In general, EHS provided technical support, departmental managers and directors are responsible for implementation of the program, and employees are responsible for following the requirements of the program.

Voluntary respirator use applies if the employees are not exposed to hazardous agents above the permissible exposure limits, or they are not emergency responders. Voluntary use of respirators is encouraged by Louisiana State University to prevent inhalation of small amounts of potentially harmful agents that are not considered to be at hazardous levels as defined by OSHA. If the responsible person decides that respirator use is permitted, that person must ensure that the voluntary user is given the information in Appendix D of this program (“Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard”). EHS also recommends that a medical evaluation is accomplished, and that the respirator is cleaned, stored, and maintained so that its use does not present a health hazard to the employee. If employees use filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks), a medical evaluation is not required.

Respirator use is work place specific. Respirators shall be assigned to individuals based upon the following their job requirements and the hazards to which the individual is exposed. Contact EHS for assistance in respirator selection. More details of respirator selection requirements are contained in the appendix.

A medical evaluation is required of those individuals required to wear a respirator, and recommended for those individuals using a respirator on a voluntary basis. Those wearing a filtering facepiece respirator (dust mask) do not need an evaluation. The evaluation consists primarily of filling out a questionnaire for review by a medical practitioner. Details are in the appendix.