Voluntary Respirator Use

Amherst College will provide filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks) at no cost to the employee for those who wishes to wear them as a precaution, as long as the conditions are not as such as would require the use of one. 

If a College employee would like to voluntarily wear an air purifying respirator with disposable cartridges they must notify Amherst College Environmental Health & Safety. The OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) requires all persons who are required to wear, or voluntarily wear, an air purifying to receive training, a medical evalutaion by a licensed physician or qualified health professional, and a respirator fit test.  

Any person who voluntarily wears a filtering facepiece respirator must reveiw the following mandatory information per the OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.134


Appendix D to Sec. 1910.134 (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard 

Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. Respirator use is encouraged, even when exposures are below the exposure limit, to provide an additional level of comfort and protection for workers. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards. If your employer provides respirators for your voluntary use, or if you provide your own respirator, you need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard. 

You should do the following: 

1. Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations. 

2. Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, certifies respirators. A label or statement of certification should appear on the respirator or respirator packaging. It will tell you what the respirator is designed for and how much it will protect you. 

3. Do not wear your respirator into atmospheres containing contaminants for which your respirator is not designed to protect against. For example, a respirator designed to filter dust particles will not protect you against gases, vapors, or very small solid particles of fumes or smoke. 

4. Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else's respirator.

[63 FR 1152, Jan. 8, 1998; 63 FR 20098, April 23, 1998]
I have read and understand the material stated above, and will comply with the guidelines established in this policy regarding dust mask/respirator usage.

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