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Environment, Health and Safety Division
Respiratory Protection

The Berkeley Lab maintains a Respiratory Protection Program to assist with selection and proper use of respirators. Details may be found in the Lab Respirator Program.

When employees may be exposed to airborne contaminants during the course of their work, engineering or administrative controls are often used to control the hazard. However, when the use of those types of controls is not feasible or sufficient, a respirator may be issued to protect the employee from those contaminants. Working with supervisors and line managers, the Industrial Hygiene Group will evaluate the workplace exposure and compare it with OSHA Personal Exposure Limits (PELs) or ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLVs).

Worker Exposure is Measured with Air Monitoring Equipment

In most cases when respiratory protection is required, the Lab will issue an air purifying respirator. A few groups use airline respirators or self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to provide breathing air in special situations.

Before an employee's initial training in respirator use, they must be evaluated for respirator use by Health Services. The Respirator Medical Evaluation normally takes about 30 minutes. Contact Health Services
at x6266 for an appointment.

Respirator Training EHS 0310 is done in Building 26, where each employee is quantitatively fitted with a respirator and trained in its use. Annual retraining and fit-testing is required (EHS 0310). Contact Herb Toor at x5918 to schedule an appointment.

A Variety of Respirators May be Tested

Employees who use airline or SCBA respirators must take additional training for this equipment, in addition to EHS 0310. Supervisors of respirator wearers, who are not themselves currently trained in the use of respirators, must take EHS 0318, Respirator Supervisor. This is a Web-based class.

Worker Using Filtering Facepiece Respirator (Dust Mask) to Protect From Nuisance Dust

In addition to respirator use to protect from hazards, some workers may wear filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks) for protection from nuisance dust. To ensure that these dust masks are not being used in situations where a more protective respirator is needed, dust masks are on the Laboratory's Restricted Items list and requests for orders should be directed to Herb Toor, x5918.