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Inspection and Training

Respirator Inspection Tips – 3M
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Inspection Requirements

Respiratory protection is no better than the respirator in use, even though it is worn correctly. Frequent random inspections must be conducted by a qualified individual to make sure respirators are properly selected, used, cleaned, and maintained.

All respirators: For all respirators, inspections must include a check of respirator function, tightness of connections, and the condition of the various parts including, but not limited to the:

  • facepiece,
  • head straps,
  • valves,
  • connecting tube, and
  • cartridges, canisters, or filters.

The elastomeric parts must be evaluated for pliability and signs of deterioration. Remember these important points about inspecting respirators:

  • inspect SCBAs monthly;
  • inspect respirators that are used routinely before each use and during cleaning;
  • replace any worn or deteriorated parts;
  • be sure to thoroughly inspect SCBAs for emergency use at least once a month and after each use;
  • the program administrator should keep a record of emergency respirator inspections. Records should include dates, serial numbers, findings, any remedial action;
  • make sure air and oxygen cylinders are fully charged according to the manufacturer's instructions. They should be recharged if pressure falls to 90% of the manufacturer’s recommended pressure;
  • make sure the regulator and warning devices function properly;
  • check the tightness of connections and the condition of the facepiece, headbands, valves, connecting tube, and canisters;
  • inspect rubber or elastomer (elastic rubber) parts for pliability and signs of deterioration;
  • stretch and manipulate rubber or elastomer parts with a massaging action to keep them pliable and flexible and prevent them from taking a set during storage; and
  • a record must be kept of inspection dates and findings for respirators maintained for emergency use.

Inspection Requirements (Continued)

Repair: Respirators that fail to pass inspection or are otherwise found to be defective must be removed from service, and discarded, repaired, or adjusted by properly trained personnel, using only the respirator manufacturer's NIOSH-approved parts designed for that respirator.

The repairs also must be made in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and specifications regarding the type and extent of repairs to be performed. Because components such as reducing and admission valves, regulators, and alarms are complex and essential to the safe functioning of the respirator, they are required to be adjusted and repaired only by the manufacturer or a technician trained by the manufacturer.

When a respirator is taken out of service, the respirator must be tagged "out of service," and the employee should be given a replacement of the same make, model, and size.

Inspecting the work area: Make sure appropriate surveillance of work area conditions and degree of employee exposure or stress is conducted.

Audit the program: Regularly audit and evaluate the program to determine its continued effectiveness.

The program administrator should conduct evaluations of the respiratory protection program as necessary to make sure each component has been properly implemented. Evaluations of the program should determine whether the correct respirators are being used and worn properly and whether the training program is effective.

The program administrator should regularly consult with employees wearing respirators to get their views on program effectiveness and to identify any problems. This assessment must determine if the respirators are properly fitted. It must also evaluate:

  • whether employees are able to wear the respirators without interfering with effective workplace performance;
  • respirators are correctly selected for the hazards encountered;
  • respirators are being worn when necessary; and
  • whether respirators are being maintained properly.

The program administrator identifies and corrects any problems associated with wearing a respirator that are identified by employees or that are revealed during any other part of the program evaluation.

OSHA’s CPL 02-02-054 - Respiratory Protection Program Guidelines provides insight into the OSHA inspection protocol for respiratory protection. Design your own audits with these strategies in mind.

Respirator Program Training Requirements - OSHA
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Training is an important part of the respiratory protection program and is essential for correct respirator use. In your initial and annual respirator training, be sure to include both an educational component and a training component.

  • The educational component increases the learner's understanding of the importance of using respirators.
  • The training component establishes or improves the skills needed to use the respirator.

Employees must receive training prior to using a respirator. For the training to be effective, the training must be comprehensive and presented in an understandable way.

Initial training

Donning and Doffing Respirators - OSHA
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Initial training should be conducted prior to the employee's first exposure to respiratory hazards and must cover, at a minimum, the following topics:

  • the general requirements of the OSHA respiratory protection standard;
  • a discussion of why the use of the respirator is necessary. Such training should address the identification of the hazards involved during inspections, the extent of employee exposures to those hazards, and the potential health effects of such exposures;
  • proper selection of respirators;
  • the procedures for inspecting the respirator, donning and removing it, checking the fit and seal, and actually wearing it;
  • information regarding the consequences of improper fit, usage, or maintenance;
  • limitations and capabilities of the respirator selected, including ESLI and change schedules;
  • how to use the respirator effectively in emergency situations, including situations when malfunctions occur;
  • proper procedures for maintenance and storage; and
  • how to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of respirators (e.g., shortness of breath, dizziness).

Annual Retraining and Refresher Training

Counterfeit and Altered Respirators – OSHA
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Retraining must be done annually and under some conditions, additional retraining might be required. Circumstances which would require retraining include situations where:

  • changes in the type of respirator assigned to the employee render previous training obsolete;
  • when the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill to use the respirator properly; or
  • any other situation in which retraining appears necessary to ensure safe respirator use.

For example, training in the operation and use of SCBAs must be ongoing and continuous. Individuals who are designated to use SCBA must follow the manufacturer's instructions and be trained annually. Training must include the wearing and using SCBAs during exercise situations (e.g., walking).

All respirator training should be documented by the program administrator, and the documentation should include the type, model, and size of the respirator assigned to each employee.

Make sure students wear the respirator in normal air for a long familiarity period and then in a test atmosphere.


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. When should respirator oxygen cylinders be recharged?

2. Who may repair the components of respirator?

3. The _____ increases the learner's understanding of the importance of using respirators.

4. The _____ establishes or improves the skills needed to use the respirator.

5. When is respirator training required?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.