Do I Need to Wear a Respirator?
To determine if a respirator is needed to protect from exposures to airborne contaminants in the workplace, employee(s) should consult with his/her supervisor to determine various other options. If it is determined that the use of respirator may be necessary, the supervisor or employee should contact EH&S to perform an exposure assessment. An exposure assessment will determine the type of respirator that must be used for the potential airborne contaminants of concern. However, the following personnel/tasks are recognized as having the potential for exposure to airborne contaminants at concentrations above occupational exposure limits and/or that may be of concern to health and safety of workers, therefore personnel performing such tasks are recommended to use respirators.
- Personnel from Environmental Health &Safety (EH&S) who respond to hazardous materials spills
- Personnel from Institute of Comparative Medicine (ICM) as determined by the ICM Director.
- Personnel working in BSL-3 laboratories.
- Personnel working in the anatomical gift morgue.
- Personnel working in the Department of Pathology who pour formalin from specimen containers, in large numbers, into larger hazardous waste collection containers outside of a chemical fume hood
- Personnel working in New York Presbyterian Hospital patient care areas, or with patients.
- Personnel working in the Emergency Department or consulting in the Emergency Department
- Personnel performing or assisting during a procedure on a patient with influenza
- Personnel entering respiratory isolation areas in New York Presbyterian Hospital or elsewhere
- Personnel intubating or extubating patients
- Personnel working with patients receiving aerosolized Ribovirin
An individual requiring a respirator must receive medical clearance from a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP), be trained on proper use, limitations, care and maintenance, and fit-tested prior to use of respirator. An individual who is not required to wear a respirator, but chooses to wear one voluntarily must comply with the requirements of Voluntary Use of N-95 Respirators, also known as OSHA Appendix D.
The use of half-face or full-face respirator on voluntary basis is not permitted.