RESPIRATORY PROTECTION PROGRAM *

Effective Date: 
Wed, 09/01/2004
Reviewed: 
Tue, 06/22/2021
Revised: 
Tue, 06/22/2021
Policy: 

The UCSC Student Health Center has a Respiratory Protection Program in order to protect staff from particulate airborne respiratory hazards such as tuberculosis, SARS and influenza. The program, training and respirators are provided to the staff on the job and at no cost. The program information follows. Please refer also to the Respirator P&P on types of respirators and fit testing for respirators, and the Infection Control P&P on employee protection.

Procedure: 

The UCSC Student Health Center (SHC) protects staff members who directly assist patients, against patient borne respiratory particulate hazards such as tuberculosis, SARS and influenza. The accepted type of protection for these particulate hazards include N-95 tight fitting respirators and powered air purifying respirators PAPRs). All SHC exam rooms have individual air flow and can be used for isolation. Patients who enter the building with severe respiratory symptoms are offered a surgical mask to wear.

All affected staff members are enrolled in the Respiratory Protection Program. Those staff members are provided with appropriate NIOSH approved respirators, a medical evaluation and with respirator training.

The Program Administrator (PA) is the Clinical Administrative nurse. The trained PA is responsible for identifying when and where respirators are required, selection of respirators, monitoring use of respirators, arranging and conducting training, storage and maintenance of respirators, fit testing, administration of the medical evaluations and surveillance (through the Medical Director), maintenance of records, evaluation of the program and updating the program as necessary.

Employees are responsible for complying with the program and for informing the PA and/or supervisor about any respiratory hazards or concerns with the program.

Those employees who elect to use a respirator voluntarily will be given “Appendix D” of the OSHA standard for Respiratory Protections (see attached), which details the requirements for voluntary use of respirators by employees.

Medical evaluations (see attached questionnaire) are mandatory and are conducted prior to initial mask fit testing and respirator use. These are updated as necessary during annual training and fit testing. The nursing and the medical director of the SHC manage the medical evaluations and any necessary follow up. Medical questionnaires and any physician findings are kept confidential. The SHC maintains the list of staff members in the Respiratory Protection Program and current training and fit test records.

Training on the use of respirators and fit testing is required for all tight fitting respirators (N-95) at the SHC prior to use of the respirator. Powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) are available for staff unable to wear the tight fitting respirator due to facial hair or other reason. Employees will be fit tested with the make, model and size of respirator that they will actually wear. A universal respirator is used at UCSC SHC. Fit testing of PAPRs is conducted in the negative pressure mode.

The SHC provides qualitative fit testing following the OSHA approved Bitrex Solution aerosol protocol (see Respirator P&P).

All employees will use the respirators in accordance with OSHA and NIOSH guidelines or standards and in accordance with provided training. All employees will conduct user seal checks each time that they wear a respirator.

N-95 disposable respirators are thrown away at the end of a shift or if fit is compromised or if the mask is too moist or difficult to breathe through. PAPR hoods, housing and hoses require a wipe down after each use with germicidal, tuberculocidal and virucidal product (may use 10% bleach solution = 1 part bleach and 9 parts water). (See 3M Technical Data Bulletin #178, Maintenance and Management of Battery Packs for 3M Powered Air Purifying Respirators with Respirator P&P)

PAPRs are stored in the Emergency Closet 2101, in a clean, dry area and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The batteries are charged regularly and are tested monthly. N-95 masks are stored throughpout the clinic. If respirators need to be removed from service, contact the PA for assistance.

Training is provided annually for both respirators. New staff members are informed about the PAPR at orientation.  New staff members are oriented to the Respiratory Protection Program with training and fit testing as soon as possible or at the annual orientation.

Evaluation of the program is done as necessary by the PA.

ATTACHMENTS

  • Appendix C – Medical Evaluation (see HC 954)
  • Appendix D – Voluntary Use of Respirators
  • 3M Technical Data Bulletin #178, Maintenance and Management of Battery Packs for 3M Powered Air Purifying Respirators