If one or more of these conditions are not met, the use of breathing masks is not voluntary. A comprehensive respiratory protection program is therefore necessary. OsHA encourages employees to use NIOSH-authorized respiratory protective masks for voluntary use, but this is not expressly necessary. Employees who wish to wear an N95 respirator for comfort reasons but are not required must complete this form for the Voluntary Respiratory Protection Agreement. Before a staff member can use an N95 mask on a voluntary basis, the ventilation program administrator or other designated party (local safety coordinator or site manager) must verify that there are no regulatory requirements for respiratory protection and that the employee`s use of the respirator does not pose a health and safety risk. If voluntary use is considered safe and authorized, the name and use of the N95 mask by the employee are added to a list of employees using respiratory protection as part of voluntary use. Voluntary use lists are regularly checked and training records checked. Since the publication in 1971 of OSHA Respiratory Protection Regulation 29 CFR 1910.134, the elements of a respiratory protection program have been listed. This implies that the requirements of the program are indicated very easily for situations where employers need breathing masks: all elements of a respiratory protection program must be present. An employer`s decision to impose the use of breathing masks indicates that there may be a risk, although the OSHA PEL is not exceeded. For example, an employer may decide to control exposure at a lower, consultative exposure limit, such as the threshold set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Of course, it is useful to maximize the effectiveness of the breathing mask with the help of a comprehensive respiratory protection program, since protection from a perceived danger is provided.
These elements aim to maximise the ability of respirators to reduce workers` exposure to air pollutants and to ensure that the misuse of respiratory masks does not pose a danger to workers. . . .