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K-State Today

April 3, 2018

K-State Respiratory Protection Program updated

By Lisa Linck

The K-State Department of Environmental Health and Safety has updated the Respiratory Protection Program. This program applies to all K-State employees, faculty, researchers, student workers, volunteers and interns who perform tasks requiring the use of respiratory protection at university facilities or other locations during the execution of K-State work activities.

New additions to the Respiratory Protection Program include enrollment into the program, written worksite-specific respiratory protection plans, online respiratory protection training and quantitative fit testing. Persons using respiratory protection in the execution of their K-State job duties are required to be enrolled in this program through Environmental Health and Safety and complete annual respiratory protection training and fit testing. Supervisors/PIs must develop procedures that are specific to the worksite and the particular job task or research. Guidelines for assessing the degree of risk associated with a respiratory hazard, the potential for exposure in the workplace, and the process of selecting an appropriate respirator once a respiratory hazard assessment has been completed is described in the Respiratory Protection Program.

A respirator may at times be required to protect the health of employees when the work environment is contaminated with materials that are hazardous to breathe. At K-State, this may include, but is not limited to:

  1. Activities that generate fumes or dusts such as welding, metals cutting, woodworking and farming.
  2. Painting with oil-based paints or epoxies. 
  3. Pesticide application or fumigation. 
  4. Chemical usage without adequate ventilation or other engineering controls. 
  5. Laboratory operations that may generate uncontained hazardous bioaerosols, gases, or vapors. 
  6. Animal handling.
  7. Asbestos removal.
  8. Concrete cutting. 
  9. Sanding or grinding of lead-based paint. 
  10. Clinical or healthcare operations where exposure to airborne infectious pathogens is suspected. 
  11. Work with BSL3 agents. 

This list is not exhaustive. Supervisors/PIs and employees should consult with Environmental Health and Safety if they have any questions about particular operations. Often the hazard may be adequately controlled through engineering or administrative practices.

Respirators, training and medical evaluations are provided at no cost to employees who are required to wear a respirator for protection from respiratory hazards at their worksite.

Questions regarding the Respiratory Protection Program? Contact EHS at respirator@k-state.edu or 785-532-5856.

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