Appendix A: Red River College’s Respiratory Protection Program
(As per CSA standard Z94.4-11 (reaffirmed 2016) – Selection, Use and Care of Respirators.)
1.0 Roles and Responsibilities
Within the Respiratory Protection Program, many people play a role in ensuring that workers/students are protected from respiratory hazards. Refer to section 5.0 of the Respiratory Protection Program Code of Practice SHS-2 for more information on the responsibilities of the Department, Supervisor, Worker/Student, Safety and Health Services (SHS), Workplace Safety & Health Committee, Health Services and the Respiratory Program Administrator.
2.0 Hazard Assessment
Supervisors in consultation with workers will utilize a risk assessment tool to determine respiratory hazards associated with the work being performed.
If a potential risk is identified from the risk assessment, Departments should contact SHS to have a further assessment performed.
3.0 Respirator Selection
Respiratory protection is authorized and issued for the following:
Workers/students that work in areas known to have respiratory hazards requiring the use of respiratory protection or in areas that respiratory hazards requiring the use of respiratory protection may be created without warning (eg. Chemical or biological spill).
Workers/student performing tasks known to be respiratory hazards and those unavoidably required to be in the immediate vicinity.
Workers/student in suspect areas or performing tasks suspected of creating respiratory hazards, but for which adequate sampling data has yet to be obtained.
Workers/student working in areas exposed to airborne communicable diseases or new and emerging diseases when mode of transmission is unknown. SHS will perform a risk assessment for these situations.
Selection of the proper respirator to is made only after it is determined that workers may be exposed to respiratory hazards in the workplace. This evaluation will be performed prior to the start of any tasks requiring respirators. SHS will assist departments with the selection of respirators. Respirator selection will be based on the:
Effectiveness of the device against the respiratory hazards.
Estimated maximum concentration of the respiratory hazard in the work area.
General environmental (eg. open area or confined space).
Known limitations of the respirator.
Comfort, fit and worker acceptance.
Contaminates in the environment or potential for oxygen deficiency.
Requirement that all respiratory protection must be CSA Approved.
Supervisors will contact SHS prior to non-routine work, which may expose workers to hazardous substances or oxygen deficient atmospheres. Examples of work, which may require the use of respirators includes, but not limited to:
Asbestos abatement activities.
Cutting or melting lead or stripping lead based paints from surfaces.
Welding or burning.
Paint, especially with epoxy or organic solvent coatings.
Using solvents, thinners or degreasers.
Any work that generates large amounts of dust.
Working in a confined space.
Using formaldehyde to decontaminate a space.
Respirator types used at RRC are:
Air-purifying Respirators (Half-face, Full-face, N95 and PAPR).
PAPR will only be issued by SHS for medical or religious accommodations.
Atmosphere-Supplied Respirators (Airline Respirators and SCBA).
Identification of respirator cartridges and canisters.
Respirator cartridges and canisters are designed to protect against individual or a combination of potentially hazardous atmospheric contaminants, and are specifically labelled and colour-coded to indicate the type and nature of protection they provide.
The NIOSH approval label on the respirator will also specify the maximum concentration of contaminant(s) for which the cartridge or canister is approved.
Warning signs of respirator failure:
When breathing difficulty is encountered with a filter respirator (due to partial clogging with increased resistance), the filter(s) must be replaced.
Disposable filter respirators are one-time-use and should be discarded every time it is taken off.
Gas or vapour air purifying.
If, when using a gas or vapour respirator (chemical cartridge or canister), and of the warning properties (ex, odour, taste, eye irritation, or respiratory irritation) occur, promptly leave the area and check the following:
Proper face seal.
Damaged or missing respirator parts.
Saturated or inappropriate cartridge or canister.
If no discrepancies are observed, replace the cartridge or canister.
If any of the warning properties appear again, the concentration of the contaminants may have exceeded the cartridge or canister design specifications.
Service life or air-purifying respirator canisters and cartridges.
The cartridges or canisters of an air-purifying respirator are intended to be used until filter resistance precludes further use or the chemical sorbent is expended as signified by a specific warning property, e.g. odour, taste, etc.
New cartridges, canisters, or filters shall always be provided when a respirator is reissued. When in doubt about the previous use of the respirator, obtain a replacement canister or cartridge.
Supplied air respirator.
When using an airlines respirator, leave the area immediately when the compressor failure alarm is activated or if an air pressure drop is sensed.
When using an SCBA leave the area as soon as the air pressure alarm is activated.
Training at the time of fit-testing will include the following:
Nature and degree of the respiratory hazard
Respirator selection, based on the hazard and respirator capabilities and limitations
Donning and doffing procedures including hands-on practice
Care of the respirator, e.x. need for cleaning, maintenance, storage, and/or replacement
Performing a seal check
Use and limitations of the respirator.
Respirator training will be documented and include the type and model of respirator for which the individual has been trained and fit-tested. Refer to Respirator Fit-testing Code of Practice SHS-3.
5.0 Respirator Fit-Testing
SHS will provide quantitative fit-testing opportunities for workers required to wear a respirator. Refer to Respirator Fit-testing Code of Practice SHS-3.
Quantitative fit testing using the PortaCount Plus fit test system is performed on N95, full-face and half-face air-purifying respirators. Fit factors are determined by comparing the particle concentration outside the respirator with the concentration inside the respirator face piece. An acceptable fit is achieved when the respirator wearer successfully completes a series of programmed exercises (normal breathing, deep breathing, moving head up and down, moving head side to side, reading, bending over while standing up and normal breathing) with a fit factor of 100 or more.
Workers must successfully pass the fit-test before being issued a respirator.
No worker is permitted to wear an air-purifying respirator until they have demonstrated that an acceptable fit can be obtained.
The results of the fit-test shall be used to select the specific model and size of the respirator for the user.
No attempt will be made to fit a respirator on a worker who is not clean-shaven or if facial hair interferes with normal functioning of the exhalation valve of the respirator.
Proper flitting of a respirator face piece for individuals wearing corrective eyeglasses or goggles may not be established if temple bars or straps extend through the sealing edge of the face piece. If eyeglasses, goggles, face shield of welding helmet must be worn with a respirator, they must be worn so as not to adversely affect the seal of the face piece. If a full-face piece respirator is used, special prescription glasses inserts are available if needed.
Respirator fit-testing must be performed every two (2) years or whenever there is a significant change in facial structure or a significant weight loss or gain.
6.0 Use of Respirators
Workers/students that work with respiratory hazards will be fit-tested and trained prior to use.
Workers/students will perform a user seal check (positive and negative pressure fit check) every time they don an N95, Half-Face or Full-face respirator.
Negative Pressure check procedure:
Close off the inlet opening of the respirators canister, cartridge or filter with the palm of the hand so that it will not allow the passage of air.
Inhale gently and hold for at least 5 seconds. If the face piece collapses slightly and no inward leakage of air into the face piece is detected, the user seal check is successful.
Positive Pressure check procedure:
Close off the exhalation valve with the palm of the hand.
Exhale gently. If the respirator has been properly positioned, a slight positive pressure will build up inside the face piece. If an outward air leak between the sealing surface of the face piece and the face is not detected then the user seal check is successful.
Workers/students will perform a flow-test every time a PAPR is donned.
7.0 Cleaning, Inspection, Maintenance and Storage of Respirators
Reusable respirators will be maintained so that it retains its original effectiveness. Care and maintenance includes cleaning and sanitization, respirator testing, repair, storage and recordkeeping.
The maintenance of respiratory protective devices involves:
A thorough visual inspection for cleanliness and defects (i.e. cracking rubber, deterioration of straps, defective exhalation and inhalation valves, broken or cracked lenses, etc.).
Replacement of worn or deteriorated parts prior to reissue. No respirator with a known defect will be reissued for use.
Making no attempt to replace components, make adjustments or make repairs on any respirator beyond those recommendations by the manufacturer. Under no circumstances will parts be substituted, as substitutions will invalidate the approval of the respirator.
All respirators used non-routinely use shall be cleaned and sanitized at a minimum annually.
Respirators used routinely shall be cleaned and sanitized after each use and filters and cartridges replaced. Routinely used respirators are to be maintained individually by the respirator wearer.
Cleaning and disinfecting of respirators must be done frequently to ensure that skin-penetrating and dermatitis-causing contaminants are removed from the respirator surface.
The following procedure is recommended for cleaning and disinfecting respirators:
Remove and discard all used filters, cartridges or canisters.
Wash face piece and breathing tube in a cleaner-disinfectant solution (eg. 1ml household bleach to 1L water). A hand brush may be used to remove dirt. Solvents, which can affect rubber and other parts, shall not be used.
Rinse completely in clean, warm water.
Air dry in a clean area in such a way as to prevent distortion of respirator.
Clean other respirator parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
Inspect valves, head straps, and other parts to ensure proper working condition.
Reassemble respirator and replace any effective parts.
Place in a clean, dry plastic bag for storage after each cleaning and disinfection.
PAPR’s will be cleaned and maintained by the SHS department.
After inspection, cleaning and any necessary minor repairs, store respirators to protect against sunlight, heat, extreme cold, excessive moisture, damaging chemicals or other contaminates.
Respirators placed at stations and work areas for emergency use shall be stored in a way so they are quickly accessible at all times and will be clearly marked.
Respirators, such as half-face or full-face air purifying respirators shall be placed in sealable bags.
Respirators shall be stored so that the face piece and exhalation valves will rest in a normal position and not be crushed.
PAPR’s will be stored in their designated storage location when not in use by a student. SHS will manage PAPR storage when not in use by students.
8.0 Health Surveillance
Prior to fit-testing and respirator use, the fit-tester will ensure that documentation is completed that confirms that the worker is free from any physiological or psychological condition that may preclude him or her from being assigned the use of the selected respirator.
Any concerns with the ability of a worker to be able to wear a respirator will be directed to the Health Services Department for further evaluation.
All health information shall be treated as confidential medical information and all health evaluation information will be stored in the Health Services Department.
Respiratory protection exemptions to accommodate religious beliefs or for medical reasons may be implemented if recognized by WSH Division. A full assessment of the occupational hazard(s) shall be conducted prior to a Respiratory Protection Program exception being considered. Exemptions will not be considered or implemented if it increases the risk of injury or illness.
Staff and students requesting an accommodation for medical or religious belief should refer to the Respirator Fit-testing Code of Practice (SHS-3).
9.0 Program Evaluation
The Respiratory Program Administrator will perform an evaluation of the Respiratory Protection Program on an annual basis and will include:
Investigating user acceptance of the respirators
Inspection of the respiration program operation
Appraising protection provided by the respirator.
The findings of the Respiratory Protection Program evaluation will be documented and this documentation will list plans to correct faults in the program and set target dates for the implementation of the plans. These evaluations will be conducted annually.
Respirator fit-testing will be documented and maintained by SHS. This will include the type of respirator, brand name, test results, test date and the name of the fit-tester.
Medical and Religious accommodation forms will be maintained by SHS.
Upon request, SHS will provide information on fit-test status of workers/students to Supervisors.
Workers/students will be given a fit-test card to provide them information about their fit-test. This card will include the date of the fit-test, retest date, type of respirator, manufacturer, model and size of respirator and fit-tester.
Hazard evaluations and program evaluation will be stored in SHS.