Respirators - Voluntary Use Online Training

SKU: C-1000Duration: 11 Minutes

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Course Details


Training Time: 11 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: 29 CFR 1910.134(c)(2)

Languages: English, Spanish

A respirator is a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects its user from inhaling hazardous substances in the form of dusts, mists, fumes, gases, or vapors. There are many different types of respirators; each type protects its user from a specific airborne hazard. "Voluntary use" situations occur when workers use respirators even when they are not required. When employers allow the "voluntary use" of respirators, there are several requirements they must fulfill.

Learning Objectives

  • Define the terms "respirator" and "voluntary use"
  • Identify examples of voluntary respirator use
  • List employer responsibilities for the voluntary use of filtering face pieces, or "dust masks"
  • List employer responsibilities for the voluntary use of other types of respirators
  • Identify the costs related to voluntary respirator use for which employers are responsible

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What does the "N95" rating on a dust mask mean?
Rating letters indicate whether masks are oil proof (P), oil resistant (R), or not oil resistant (N), and rating numbers indicate the percentage of particles at least 0.3 microns in diameter that the mask will remove. An "N95" dust mask is not oil resistant and it will filter out 95% of particles at least 0.3 microns in diameter.

Why would someone choose an N95 dust mask over an N100 dust mask? Isn't it better to filter out more particles?
N100 dust masks do remove more particles but they also tend to be hotter and harder to breathe through, so someone might choose an N95 dust mask for comfort reasons.

What are the requirements regarding the type of dust mask purchased by an employer?
OSHA requires that dust masks used for voluntary protection be certified by NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, for use to protect against the contaminants present.

Are OSHA's requirements for dust masks and other more complex respirators very different?
OSHA's requirements for the voluntary use of more complex respirators, such as tight-fitting elastomeric respirators, are more involved because they are physiologically more burdensome than dust masks. However, the requirements are still less involved than those for a full Respiratory Protection Program.

Why are OSHA's requirements so stringent?
OSHA's requirements are stringent in order to protect against hazards including undetected medical conditions which could jeopardize an employee's health, dirty respirators which could lead to skin problems, and dirty respirators which could expose the worker to build up and contaminants.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

Filtering face pieces, also called dust masks, are the simplest, least expensive, and least protective type of respirator. Dust masks can protect against some airborne particles, fumes, and mists, and are intended for low hazard levels only. They are usually disposable and must be replaced when they become discolored, damaged, or clogged. When a dust mask is used voluntarily by an employee, the employer has two responsibilities: 1. To determine that the mask does not pose a hazard to the worker - by ensuring that dirty or contaminated masks are not used, and that mask use does not interfere with the worker's ability to work safely 2. To provide the information in Appendix D of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard to each voluntary dust mask user on a one-time basis

Additional Resources

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

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