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Medical Clearance for Respirator Use

To comply with the OSHA Respiratory Protection standard and Columbia University’s Respiratory Protection Policy (, personnel required to wear a respirator must obtain medical clearance from a Physician or Other Licensed Healthcare Provider (PLHCP) prior to being issued a respirator at Columbia University or any remote site while conducting activities as a faculty, staff, student  or visitor representing Columbia University. Before making an appointment with PLHCP you must talk to your supervisor. Facilities personnel can obtain additional information from their respective campus Safety or Compliance office.

The purpose of medical clearance is to ensure that the user has adequate respiratory and cardiovascular fitness prior to wearing a respirator. Once it has been determined that an individual needs respiratory protection, he/she must get medical clearance from a PLHCP.  Medical evaluation must be repeated at a frequency recommended by the PLHCP, but no less than annually and prior to the required annual respirator fit-test.
Following campus specific information will help to obtain a medical clearance for fit-testing:

  1. CUMC Campus
    • Employees recommended to wear a respirator by the supervisor can go to the Workforce Health and Safety (WHS), First Floor Harkness Pavilion (305-7590), to obtain medical clearance. (WHS will provide appropriate forms required for medical clearance).
    • Medical and Nursing students can go to the Student Health Service at 60 Haven Ave to obtain medical clearance.

  2. MS and Nevis Campus
    All personnel recommended to use a respirator should arrange with their supervisor to obtain medical clearance before fit-testing.

  3. LDEO Campus
    All personnel recommended to use a respirator should arrange with the Safety and Security Manager to obtain -medical clearance before fit-testing.

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