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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-98-180

Safety and Health on Bridge Repair, Renovation and Demolition Projects


Table of Contents

I. General
II. Work Area Surveillance
III. Availability of Respirators
IV. Use of Respirators
V. Selection of Respirators
VI. Fitting of Respirators
VII. Cleaning, Inspection, Storage and Maintenance of Respirators
VIII. Medical Surveillance
IX. Training and Information
X. Respirator Program Evaluation
XI. Recordkeeping



This is a mandatory program for each project where respiratory hazards are present. The program is designed to allow each project to identify their hazards and to provide the appropriate protection. Each project where respiratory protection is needed shall have a Respirator Program Administrator (RPA). This individual must be knowledgeable of respiratory protection equipment, including the manufacturer recommendations and instructions for the proper use, inspection and maintenance. The RPA must be capable of identifying existing and potential respiratory hazards and has the authority to take prompt corrective action to protect workers from those hazards.

The Respirator Program Administrator for this project is:


The intent of this written program is to define the company rules now in effect regarding the use of respirators for personal protection against airborne contaminants. The requirements contained herein are not optional for the employee. Capstone Construction considers this policy mandatory and a condition of employment for each individual.

To ensure the availability of this respirator program at all times, copies of this written program shall be distributed as follows:

1. ___________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________


It is essential to follow the Hazard Communication Program of this company in order to identify all chemical hazards prior to the commencement of work. A review of all Material Safety Data Sheets for the project will be necessary to complete the following list of potential air contaminants where respiratory protection may be required. Air sampling may be conducted to define personal exposures associated with potentially hazardous operations and follow-up air sampling shall be conducted when conditions change. Documentation of all air sampling shall be maintained at the project using the following table.

For this project the following is a list of all known Air Contaminants (i. e. Welding, Organic Solvents, Fiberglass), exposure levels, and project locations where these contaminants are likely to be found.



Each employee that requires a respirator will be provided one by the RPA with replacement parts, cartridges and filters available upon request. The following types of respirators are available:

1. ____________________ _______________________
2. ____________________ _______________________
3. ____________________ _______________________
4. ____________________ _______________________
5. ____________________ _______________________
6. ____________________ _______________________
7. ____________________ _______________________
8. ____________________ _______________________
9. ____________________ _______________________
10. ____________________ _______________________


Each employee whose job assignment requires a respirator shall wear a NIOSH approved respirator, properly fitted, at all times during the course of that job assignment. Additionally, any employee in the immediate area of a hazardous operation and at risk of an exposure must follow the requirements of this program. No alterations of the respirators are permitted. The following operations at this project are considered potentially hazardous and require the use of a respirator:










































Only NIOSH approved respirators have been chosen for use in this program. The choice between these respirators is dependent upon the airborne contaminant present, the operation performed, and on the basis of comfort and ease in obtaining a proper individual fit. Negative pressure respirators may only be used for slightly to moderately toxic dusts, fumes and mists, or vapors with good odor warning properties (10% less concentration of the allowable limit). Half face respirators may only be used for up to 10 times the permissible exposure limits (PEL); full face respirators for up to 50 times the PELs. They are not allowed for use in unknown concentrations, emergency or rescue, immediately dangerous to life and health situations or oxygen deficient atmospheres.

The company will provide these respirators, maintaining a supply at the project site. The useful life of each respirator will depend mainly on the employee's job duties and the actual time the unit is in use. A respirator cartridge or canister change schedule will be provided to each userand must strictly followed. Notify RPA if any contaminants are sensed through breathing becomes difficult using cartridge/canister schedule.


Proper fitting of respirators is essential if employees are to receive the designed protection. Air that passes around the edges of the respirator, rather than through it, is not filtered air. In order to ensure a good face seal, the following rules must be observed.

  1. The respirator and straps must be in place and work in the appropriate position. To adjust head bands, pull the free ends tight until a comfortable fit is obtained. All straps shall be secure.

  2. To adjust the facepiece properly, simply position your chin firmly in the chin cup and manually shift the rubber mask until the most comfortable position is located. Make final adjustments in the head band and do not break the nasal seal. Modifications to the respirator or straps shall not be made.

  3. Proper fit must be checked each time the respirator is worn. Fit checking procedures found in Appendix B-1 of 1910. 134 will be followed each time a respirator is put on. The Respirator Program Administrator will assure during the training period, that each employee can demonstrate the use of fit-checking procedures. Respirators shall not be worn when projections under the facepiece prevent a good face seal. Note: Such conditions may be a growth of beard, sideburns, temple pieces on glasses or a skullcap that projects under the facepiece.

  4. Prior to issuing a respirator to an individual, the respirator must be tested using the appropriate qualitative or quantitative fit test procedures found in Appendix A of 1910. 134. For example, qualitative fit tests determine if the wearer can detect the "banana oil" odor. Irritant smoke tests can also be used with respirators to insure proper fit. An advantage of the irritant smoke method is that subjective employee responses are eliminated since a poor fit results in an involuntary coughing response. Quantitative and semi-quantitative fit tests involve the use of a booth or other means for measuring the concentration of the test atmosphere inside the respirator versus the concentration which exists outside the respirator.

  5. The fit test exercises for testing a respirator equipped with a facepiece include the following for at least two minutes each:
    1. Normal breathing
    2. Deep breathing
    3. Turning head from side to side
    4. Nodding head up and down
    5. Talking
    6. Normal breathing

    In the event an employee is unable to obtain a satisfactory fit with the type of respirator furnished, the RPA will make efforts to correct the problem (i. e. provide a different size of respirator or a different brand of respirator).

  6. Fit testing will be conducted prior to wearing a respirator, and will be repeated annually. Fit testing will also be conducted whenever a different respirator facepiece is used, or when there is a change in an employee's physical condition that could affect a fit (such as dental work or surgery, that affects the facial contours. )

Respirator cleaning, inspection, storage and maintenance are part of the user's responsibility. Procedures for cleaning and disinfecting respirators found in 1910. 134, Appendix B-2 will be followed.

Respirators must be cleaned after each day's use and placed in a plastic bag and properly stored.

At the end of each week (or more often, if needed) respirators should be completely cleaned and disinfected by carrying out the following procedures:

  1. Remove the air purifying elements from the respirator. Air purifying elements must never be washed and disinfected.

  2. Immerse the respirator in a warm (140-160 degrees F) aqueous solution of a germicidal detergent. The respirator facepiece and parts may be scrubbed gently with a soft brush. Make sure that all foreign matter is removed from all surfaces of the rubber exhalation valve flap and plastic exhalation valve seats.

  3. After washing and disinfecting the respirator, rinse the same with clean, warm (140­160 degrees F) water and then allow the respirator to dry.

  4. After the respirator is dry, attach the air purifying elements.

  5. Store the respirator in the container provided for the purpose.

Any malfunction on the respirator shall be reported to Respirator Program Administrator. Necessary replacement parts will be made available.

After inspection, cleaning and necessary repair, or after each day's use, the respirator shall be stored in a bag and in the location provided for the purpose of protecting the respirator and keeping it clean and sanitary. In storing the respirator, the facepiece and exhalation valve must be in normal position, so as to prevent the abnormal set of elastomeric parts during storage.

Each worker assigned to use a respirator shall maintain and routinely inspect it before and after each use. Respirators will be inspected monthly by the Respirator Program Administrator to assure that they are kept clean and in satisfactory working condition.


A blank Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (identical to that found in 1910. 134, Appendix C) will be provided to each employee required to use a respirator prior to fit testing. This questionnaire must be completed and sent, in the postage-paid envelope, to the designated examining licensed health care provider (LHCP). Information provided by the employee in this questionnaire will not be disclosed to this company or the Respirator Program Administrator. The Respirator Program Administrator will give the LHCP information regarding the type of respirator each employee will be using, how and when the respirator will be used, the employee's work duties, and other factors which may affect the employee's ability to use a respirator such as the use of additional personal protective equipment, and the presence of high heat and humidity working conditions. A copy of this written respiratory protection program and a copy of 1910. 134 will also be provided to the LHCP.

The Licensed Health Care Provider for this Project is:

Based on information about the types and conditions of respirator use, and a review of the questionnaire, the examining physician may request that an employee visit for a follow-up medical examination to determine the ability to wear a respirator. A recommendation regarding a prospective respirator user's ability to wear a respirator will be provided to the company by the LHCP. A copy of this recommendation will be provided to the prospective user as well.

Employees who have been approved to wear a type or types of respirators by a LHCP, will be provided additional medical evaluations at a later date if any of the following conditions exist:

  • The employee reports medical signs or symptoms that are related to the ability to use a respirator;
  • An LHCP, supervisor, or the Respirator Program Administrator request a reevaluation;
  • Any information such as observations during fit testing or inspections of the respirator program indicates the need for employee reevaluation; or
  • A change in workplace conditions (such as physical work effort, protective clothing, increased temperature or humidity) occurs that may result in an increase in the physiological burden placed on an employee.

Before initially using a respirator, and at least annually, each employee will receive training regarding the need for, care and use of their respirator. Following the training, each employee will be asked to explain and/or demonstrate:

  • Why they need to wear the respirator;
  • How the proper functioning of the respirator can be effected by improper fit, usage, or maintenance;
  • In what hazards and work conditions the respirator will and will not provide proper protection;
  • How to recognize when the respirator malfunctions, and what to do about it;
  • How to inspect, put on, take off, use and fit check the respirator;
  • How to properly maintain and store the respirator;
  • How to recognize personal health problems which may make wearing a respirator hazardous to your health;
  • The contents of this company's respirator program and the general requirements of OSHA's respirator standard;
  • The purpose of this company's medical surveillance program for respirator use and how it works.

Upon successful demonstration that the employee understands the information above, a respirator training card will be presented to each employee. This card will contain the employee's name, date of training, specific respirators the employee may use, and the date for the next training. Training may be repeated more often than annually as necessary.

Respirator Training Record

Employee Name
Date of Training
Allowable Respirators


The company shall monitor the effectiveness of this program by:

  1. Frequent unscheduled observation of employee activities throughout the project to confirm proper respirator use and continual supervisory enforcement to ensure that employees are wearing proper respirators and maintaining them properly.

  2. Observation of, and discussion with, new and relocated employees to confirm proper training has been carried out.

  3. Periodic discussion with supervisors and general personnel during appropriate scheduled meetings to reinforce previous training.

Records shall be kept at the job site to document that each respirator wearer has been subject to training, fit testing, medical surveillance. Written records of air sampling information, workplace surveillance information, respirator types available on site, respirator inspections and program evaluations will also be kept at the site. Following the conclusion of the job, all written records related to respiratory protection will be forwarded to the company administrative offices. The LHCP will maintain any confidential medical information, including the employee's initial Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. Any employee may review safety and health records related to this or any prior job by contacting their supervisor or the company's records administrator.


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