FAQS FOR INDIVIDUALS REQUIRING USE OF A RESPIRATOR
WHEN ARE RESPIRATORS REQUIRED?
Depending on the job responsibilities, respirators may be required as personal protective equipment to protect the health of the individual. Individuals may be required to wear respirators for tasks such as activities involving close contact with TB/potentially infectious patients, working in areas with particulate airborne contaminants such as dusts, small amounts of molds, or handling microbial agents such as TB bacterial or flu virus. Respirator usage may also be required for exposure to other hazardous materials such as paint, fumes, and other volatile chemicals. Only a respirator suitable for the purposes attended may be used.
WHAT IS TULANE UNIVERSITY’S RESPONSIBILITY?
Tulane University (TU) will provide a respirator to each employee when such equipment is necessary to protect the health of such employee. Tulane will provide the respirators which are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended for work at or for Tulane University. TU will establish and maintain a respiratory protection program, which will include the requirements outlined in the United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) Standard 29 CFR 1910.134.
TU will not provide medical evaluation, fit-testing or training to any individual for the purposes of working for an employer other than Tulane University. Each employer is responsible for developing and administering their own federally compliant program based on the hazards within their workplace.
WHAT IS THE INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY?
Individuals who are required to wear a respirator for work at or for TU must:
NOTE: OEHS will need at least one week notice to schedule training and fit-testing. We will do our best to accommodate your schedule. If your need is immediate, respirator fit-testing is available from third party providers listed below. HOWEVER, you will still be required to complete OEHS training before your respirator use. You must also submit applicable verification to OEHS verifying that you were fit-tested and proper fit was obtained.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO OBTAINING APPROVAL TO WEAR A RESPIRATOR?
1. Initiation for Respirator Approval/Notification to the OEHS
The first step in obtaining approval to wear a respirator is notification to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety electronically via of the OEHS HelpDesk. Information needed includes (see attached form): Name of individual(s) needing testing, number needing testing, department, job title, contact information (email and phone number), area(s) with which work activities will be conducted (Animal Care, Emergency Medical Services, Facilities, Research, Health Care, Student), list/specific tasks that warrant use of a respirator, and information on previous respirator assignment(s), if any.
2. Medical Evaluation & Clearance
Employees required to wear a respirator must obtain a medical clearance prior to wearing a respirator as indicated in 29 CFR 1910.134(e)(2) of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard. The evaluation is required because the use of a respirator places unusual stress on the wearer to the extent that employees entering this program must be evaluated by a physician or other licensed health care professional. The purpose of the evaluation is to screen employees for pre-existing conditions not conducive to respirator use, confirm that the individual can handle the additional stress caused by the respirator and re-evaluate the wearer periodically for changes in health and abilities. The OSHA Standard at 1910.134(e)(2)(ii), specifically indicates information that must be obtained in the medical evaluation and is included in this mandatory OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. You must complete this questionnaire and give it to a licensed physician or PLHCP for review.
2. Written Medical Clearance
After being medically cleared, a physician or licensed health care professional (PLHCP) will provide written documentation on whether or not the individual is capable of wearing a respirator. Once cleared, an individual can then be fit tested and trained.
3. Respirator Fit Testing and Training
This testing and training shall be conducted in accordance with the OSHA 29 CRF 1920.134 Respiratory Protection Standard to ensure users are familiar with respirators and their protective limitations, proper storage, maintenance, and disposal, and effective use of the respirator. Individuals shall be trained on the specific type used at Tulane University. Testing and training will not be performed on any individual that does not provide certification from a licensed physician or PLHCP stating that they are physically capable of wearing a respirator.
NOTE:For animal handlers and health care workers, the fit testing and training shall be conducted on the following respirator: Medline Industries Particulate Respirator (24506 regular or 24507 (small). If unable to be fitted with this respirator, an individual shall be provided with a comparable alternative (i.e., 3M 1860).
WHERE CAN I GET A MEDICAL EVALUATION SO THAT I CAN WEAR A RESPIRATOR?
1. Your department may be able to make arrangements through Student Health, if you are a student.
2. Your department can make arrangements at Concentra using the contact information below:
WHERE CAN I RECEIVE TRAINING AND FIT-TESTING?
WHY CAN’T TULANE UNIVERSITY PROVIDE MEDICAL EVALUATION, TRAINING, AND FIT-TESTING FOR ME TO TAKE TO MY NEW EMPLOYER?
Federal regulatory standards make it very clear that it is the responsibility of each employer/company with which one works to provide you, prior to beginning work, with the medical evaluation, testing and training that you need. The testing and training is based upon the specific hazard(s) with which you will be working with at the company in addition to the specific engineering controls in place. All of these may differ from Tulane, making Tulane’s program null and void with regards to your new employer. Also, you should be aware that not only does 29 CFR 1910.134 require that the employer of record be responsible for respiratory protection, it also states that the medical evaluation, training and respirator shall be provided to you at no cost, by your employer.