Environmental Health & Safety Respiratory Protection

Respiratory Protection

Employees exposed, or potentially exposed to respiratory hazards such as dusts, mists, fumes, and/or vapors may be required to wear respiratory protection. The hierarchy of hazard control dictates that exposures would preferentially be controlled by eliminating the hazard, substituting a less hazardous chemical or product, using engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation, or implementing administrative controls such as work methods prior to using personal protective equipment (PPE). Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) conducts hazard assessments to evaluate whether respiratory protection is necessary. Please contact your local EH&S service provider for assistance with a hazard assessment, in Pullman at 335-3041.

Employees required to wear a respirator must be enrolled in WSU’s Respiratory Protection Program. The program requires employees to be medically cleared to wear a respirator, the respirator to be annually fit-tested, and the employee trained. Medical clearance is required annually, prior to fit testing.

WSU’s respiratory protection program medical evaluation service provider is Occupational Medicine Associates (OMA). Engage OMA’s medical evaluation services by first completing their respirator medical evaluation questionnaire. Under the questionnaire’s employer and work identification section, identify your department or unit and provide your unique departmental OMA account number, this number may be obtained from your supervisor or your department’s administrator. If your department does not yet have an OMA account, an account may be established by providing the following information to OMA:

  • WSU New Account
  • Department
  • Billing Address
  • Attention To: (Identify individual responsible for submitting payment).
  • Telephone number for the individual identified above.

Accounts may be established via telephone, calling Debbie Masten at 509-455-5555 ext. 225 or electronically mailing Debbie. The fee for each medical evaluation is $35.

Completed questionnaires may be marked confidential and mailed to:

OMA
323 East Second Avenue, Suite 102
Spokane, WA 99202

Alternatively, questionnaires may be faxed to 509-455-4114.

After obtaining medical clearance to wear a respirator, contact your local EH&S service provider, in Pullman at 335-3041, for a respirator fit test. Fit testing helps ensure the respirator provides protection. WSU personnel receive respirator training concurrent with fit testing. Medical clearance, fit testing and training are annual requirements when personnel wear respirators to reduce exposure to contaminants below permissible levels or when mandated by the employer.

Employees not required to wear a respirator but who choose to wear a N95 or greater disposable respirator are to be provided information on the voluntary use of respirators.

Employees not required to wear a respirator but who choose to wear an elastomeric reusable respirator must be medically cleared and provided information on the voluntary use of respirators.

Resources

Training

Employees receive training on how to properly use respirators from OH&S during their annual respirator fit-test.

Washington State University