Wayne State University

Respiratory Protection - Additional Information

WSU Written Respiratory Protection Program

Regulatory Links

Respirator Training Videos

Program Evaluation

Procedures for IDLH Atmospheres

Atmosphere Supplying Respirators


Regulatory links

Respirator training videos

Program evaluation

It is inherent in respirator use that problems with protection, irritation, breathing resistance, comfort, and other respirator-related factors occasionally arise in most respirator protection programs. Although it is not possible to eliminate all problems associated with respirator use, we try to eliminate as many problems as possible to improve respiratory protection and encourage employee acceptance and safe use of respirators. By having our Program Administrator, thoroughly evaluate and as necessary, revise our Respiratory Protection Program, we can eliminate problems effectively.

At Wayne State University, program evaluation, performed annually by our program administrator, involves the following:

  • Conducting evaluations of the workplace as necessary to ensure that the provisions of the current written program are being effectively implemented and that it continues to be effective.

  • Regularly consulting employees required to use respirators to assess their views on program effectiveness and to identify any problems. Any problems that are identified during this assessment must be corrected. Factors to assess include, but are not limited to:

  • Respirator fit (including the ability to use the respirator without interfering with effective workplace performance)

  • Appropriate respirator selection for the hazards to which the employee is exposed

  • Proper respirator use under the workplace conditions the employee encounters

  • Proper respirator maintenance

Procedures for Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) atmospheres

Ensure that:

  • One employee or, when needed, more than one employee is located outside the IDLH atmosphere;

  • Visual, voice, or signal line communication is maintained between the employee(s) in the IDLH atmosphere and the employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmosphere;

  • The employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmosphere are trained and equipped to provide effective emergency rescue;

  • The employer or designee is notified before the employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmosphere enter the IDLH atmosphere to provide emergency rescue;

  • The employer or designee authorized to do so by the company, once notified, provides necessary assistance appropriate to the situation;

  • Employee(s) located outside the IDLH atmospheres are equipped with:  

    1. Pressure demand or other positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs), or a pressure demand or other positive pressure supplied-air respirator with auxiliary SCBA; and either:
    2. Appropriate retrieval equipment for removing the employee(s) who enter(s) these hazardous atmospheres where retrieval equipment would contribute to the rescue of the employee(s) and would not increase the overall risk resulting from entry; or
    3. Equivalent means for rescue where retrieval equipment is not required under the bullet item above this one.

Atmosphere suppyling respirators

When atmosphere-supplying respirators are being used to protect employees it is essential to ensure that the air being breathed is of sufficiently high quality. Our institution's procedures to ensure adequate air quality, quantity, and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators include coverage of the following OSHA requirements:

Compressed air, Compressed oxygen, liquid air, and liquid oxygen used for respirators:

  • Compressed and liquid oxygen must meet the United States Pharmacopoeia requirements for medical or breathing oxygen.
  • Compressed breathing air must meet at least the requirements for Grade D breathing air described in ANSI/Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specification for Air, G-7.1-1989, to include:
    1. Oxygen content (v/v) of 19.5-23.5%;
    2. Hydrocarbon (condensed) content of 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air or less;
    3. Carbon monoxide (CO) content of 10 parts per million (ppm) or less;
    4. Carbon dioxide content of 1,000 ppm or less; and
    5. Lack of a noticeable odor.
  • Ensure that compressed oxygen is not used in atmosphere-supplying respirators that have previously used compressed air.
  • Ensure that oxygen concentrations greater than 23.5% are used only in equipment designed for oxygen service or distribution.

Cylinders used to supply breathing air to respirators:

  • Cylinders must be tested and maintained as prescribed in the Shipping Container Specification Regulations of the Department of Transportation (49 CFR 173 and 178).
  • Cylinders of purchased breathing air must have a certificate of analysis from the supplier that the breathing air meets the requirements for Grade D breathing air.
  • The moisture content in the cylinder must not exceed a dew point of -50 deg. F (-45.6 deg. C) at 1 atmosphere pressure.


  • Ensure that compressors used to supply breathing air to respirators are constructed and situated so as to:
    1. Prevent entry of contaminated air into the air-supply system;
    2. Minimize moisture content so that the dew point at 1 atmosphere pressure is 10 degrees F (5.56 deg. C) below the ambient temperature;
    3. Have suitable in-line air-purifying sorbent beds and filters to further ensure breathing air quality. Sorbent beds and filters must be maintained and replaced or refurbished periodically following the manufacturer's instructions; and
    4. Have a tag containing the most recent change date and the signature of the person authorized by our company to perform the change. The tag must be maintained at the compressor.
  • For compressors that are not oil-lubricated, ensure that carbon monoxide levels in the breathing air do not exceed 10 ppm.
  • For oil-lubricated compressors, use a high-temperature or carbon monoxide alarm, or both, to monitor carbon monoxide levels. If only high-temperature alarms are used, the air supply must be monitored at intervals sufficient to prevent carbon monoxide in the breathing air from exceeding 10 ppm.

Breathing air couplings:

  • Ensure that breathing air couplings are incompatible with outlets for non-respirable worksite air or other gas systems. No asphyxiating substance must be introduced into breathing air lines.

Breathing gas containers:

Filters, cartridges, and canisters:

  • Ensure that all filters, cartridges and canisters used in the workplace are labeled and color-coded with the NIOSH approval label and that the label is not removed and remains legible.

Wayne State University follows the specified MIOSHA/OSHA air quality procedures to ensure adequate air quality, quantity, and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators.

Procedures for interior structural firefighting

Wayne State University employees are not qualified to perform interior structural firefighting and the university does not have a fire brigade.  In the event of a fire, the Detroit Fire Department is notified through Public Safety.