An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against:
Insufficient oxygen environments
Harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays
Airborne infectious agents
These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases, or death.
Respirators must be used when airborne hazards are present and effective engineering controls are not feasible. Respirators have their limitations and are not a substitute for effective engineering controls. Where respirators are required to protect worker health, public employers must comply with the PEOSH Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
The Standard contains requirements for:
Respirator use, cleaning, storage, maintenance and repair
Some public sector occupations where respirators are commonly required include:
PEOSH Respiratory Protection Model Program for Law Enforcement - A Template for Local Law Enforcement Written Programs (including forms) [doc 274k]
Protecting Emergency Medical Services Workers from Airborne Infectious Diseases:A Step-by-Step Guide and Model Respiratory Protection Program for Using N-95, N-99 and N-100 Disposable Particulate Respirators