Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Respiratory Protection

Where persons are or may be exposed, on a temporary or emergency basis, to an oxygen deficient atmosphere or to harmful concentrations of air contaminants (i.e. gas, vapours, dusts or fumes), they must wear protective respiratory equipment. Persons required to wear such equipment must be adequately trained in the selection, care, use and maintenance of this equipment.

Protective respiratory equipment shall meet acceptable standards prepared by either the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Respiratory protective equipment shall be selected so as to be appropriate to the hazards to which the workers are being exposed (Table 5 provides some guidelines). The selection of the correct and appropriate type of respirator for each job shall be done only by a qualified person experienced in the use of such equipment. When in doubt, contact the  Health and Safety Department for guidance.

Every worker who is required to use respiratory protective equipment shall receive adequate pre-job instruction by a qualified person to ensure that they understand the correct and appropriate uses for the device, its limitations and maintenance requirements. Such training is available from the Health and Safety Department upon request.

Respiratory protective equipment
Hazard Condition Respirator Type
Oxygen Deficiency
(<18 %)
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Hose mask with blower.
Combination air-line respirator with auxiliary self-contained air supply or an air-storage receiver with alarm.
Gas and Vapour Contaminants Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Hose mask with blower.
Air-purifying, full facepiece respirator with chemical canister (gas mask).
Self-rescue mouthpiece respirator (for escape only).
Combination air-line respirator with auxiliary self-contained air supply or an air-storage receiver with alarm.
Gas and Vapour Contaminants Not immediately dangerous to life or health Air-line respirator.
Hose mask without blower.
Air-purifying, half-mask or mouthpiece respirator with chemical cartridge.
Particulate Contaminants (dusts, fumes, etc). Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Hose mask with blower.
Air-purifying, full facepiece respirator with appropriate filter.
Self-rescue mouthpiece respirator (for escape only).
Combination air-line respirator with auxiliary self-contained air supply or an air-storage receiver with alarm.
Particulate Contaminants (dusts, fumes, etc). Not immediately dangerous to life or health Air-purifying, half-mask or mouthpiece respirator with filter pad or cartridge.
Air-line respirator.
Air-line abrasive-blasting respirator.
Hose mask without blower.
Combination of gas, vapour and particulate contaminants Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Hose mask with blower.
Air-purifying, full facepiece respirator with chemical canister and appropriate filter (gas mask and filter). Self-rescue mouthpiece respirator (for escape only).
Combination air-line respirator with auxiliary self-contained air supply or an air-storage receiver with alarm.
Combination of gas, vapour and particulate contaminants Not immediately dangerous to life or health Air-line respirator.
Hose mask without blower.
Air-purifying, half-mask or mouthpiece respirator with chemical cartridge and appropriate filter.
Dusts (<0.05 mg/m3) Not dangerous to life or health (irritants) Dust mask filter pad style respirator meeting NIOSH/MSHA Approval No. TC-21C-132

Persons required to use a respiratory protective devices shall be clean shaven at the point where the respirator contacts with the wearer's face. Each respirator shall be fit tested by a qualified member of the Health and Safety Department or trained designate, to ensure that a proper seal has been established between the respirator and person's face.

All respiratory protective equipment shall be maintained in good working order and in a sanitary condition. Respirators are considered as individual pieces of personal equipment and for hygienic reasons shall not be shared with any other persons. Respirators shall be clearly identified as to the owner.

Respiratory equipment shall be stored in a sanitary storage container in a suitable, convenient, storage area where it will not become contaminated by any airborne substances and protected from dust, sunlight, heat, extreme cold, and excessive moisture. Unprotected respirators may sustain hidden damage or facepiece distortion that would make them ineffective. Cartridges should be stored in a suitable package or container (i.e. zip-lock bag) separate from the face piece.

Whenever people are working in areas where an oxygen deficient atmosphere or harmful concentrations of air contaminants exists or is likely to develop, sufficient personnel who are trained in rescue procedures must be immediately available. The trained rescue personnel shall have immediate access to appropriate self- contained breathing apparatus or other equipment necessary to effect any rescue.

Supervisors shall ensure that a regular schedule be established for the purpose of cleaning and disinfecting, providing fit testing and adjustment checks of any respiratory equipment.

Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) shall be of an acceptable type meeting the current requirements of the Workers' Compensation Board Regulations. Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) shall only be serviced and maintained by a fully qualified service agency at least once a year. Detailed records pertaining to service and repairs for each self-contained breathing unit shall be maintained on a regular and consistent basis by the Health and Safety Department.

Where compressed air is supplied by either an air-line system or from self contained breathing apparatus for breathing purposes, the quality of the air shall meet the requirements of CSA Standard Z180.1 or equivalent. The Health and Safety Department shall be responsible for ensuring the quality of the respirable air through proper testing.