Respirator Protection Plan: A Breakdown for Employers

A Respirator Protection Plan is a written framework that organizations must develop to ensure the proper and consistent implementation of respiratory protection measures. It is a required element for compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard and is intended to contribute to the overall safety of employees exposed to respiratory hazards.

Those are all of the reasons you have to have one. But there are even better reasons you should have one. A written Respirator Protection Plan helps you stay organized, gives you something to reference as needed, keeps knowledge within the company versus with a few individuals, ensures consistency, and makes it easier to execute respiratory compliance and keep your team safe because you have a fully-fledged plan that details how to do it. The important thing is knowing what needs to be included in one.

11 Key Components of a Respirator Protection Plan

A compliant and strategic Respirator Protection Plan (RPP) will have the following elements in it:

1. Identification of Respirator Use Areas

Clearly delineate areas within the workplace where respirators are required based on potential exposure to airborne contaminants.

2. Selection of Respirators

Specify the types of respirators, i.e. full-face, half-face, and disposable particulate respirators that are suitable for various job roles and hazards present in the workplace. Note that the size of respirators plays a key role in ensuring proper fit and is also worth documenting as part of your respirator protection plan.

3. Medical Evaluation Protocols

A medical evaluation determines someone’s ability to wear and use a respirator, meaning they don’t have any medical or physical issues that put them at risk of harm from a respirator. It is a pre-requisite to respirator fit testing, and your respirator protection plan must establish the processes for medical evaluations. This may include online medical evaluations as a modern and efficient approach.

4. Fit Testing Procedures

Outline the procedures for both initial and ongoing Respirator Fit Testing, including the selection of qualitative or quantitative respirator fit testing methods.

5. Access to Respirators

Clearly define how employees can access respirators, including the procedures for obtaining, storing, and maintaining these essential safety devices.

6. Training and Education

Detail the training programs that educate employees on proper respirator use, care, and maintenance. This includes information on proper sanitation protocols (especially important in the case of reusable masks), the limitations of respirators, and the importance of a proper fit.

7. Record-Keeping Requirements

Specify the documentation and record-keeping procedures, including the maintenance of fit test records, medical evaluations, and any changes in employee health status. Know that these records must be kept for each employee’s tenure, plus 30 years. Our Respirator Fit Testing Portal can handle all of this.

8. Regular Review and Updates

Incorporate a schedule for regular review and updates of the Respirator Protection Plan to ensure it remains current and aligned with changing workplace conditions or regulations.

9. Emergency Situations

Outline procedures for the use of respirators in emergencies and ensure that employees are trained to respond appropriately.

10. Supervision and Enforcement

Designate responsibilities for enforcing the Respirator Protection Plan, including monitoring compliance and taking corrective actions when necessary. Some workplaces choose to designate a single person to RPP management and execution, whereas others choose to place it under employee health positions, site managers, or other parallel fields.

11. Communication Strategies

Establish effective communication channels to inform employees about the Respirator Protection Plan, including providing access to written materials and training sessions.

It All Comes Down to Execution

Your written Respirator Protection Plan may be great, but if you’re struggling with executing it, it’s not going to protect your workforce or keep you in compliance with OSHA, which puts you at risk of lawsuits and fines. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We’re experts and we can help with all or some of your respirator fit testing process! Let us know your pain points and we’ll be in touch.