Environmental Health and Safety

Respiratory Protection

The University Respiratory Protection Program (doc) (pdfwas developed to protect employees against respiratory hazards including particulates, chemicals and other materials that pose a risk to employee health. The Respiratory Protection Program outlines important responsibilities for employees including the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment which often includes the use of a proper respirator.

Employees must be cleared to wear a respirator and be trained before being permitted to work in conditions that would require use of such equipment. In order to be cleared, the following conditions must be met.

  • The employee must have a medical exam to determine the employee's fitness to wear a respirator.
  • The employee must be fit-tested to ensure that the respirator properly fits the employee and the employee is able to properly dawn the respirator.
  • The employee must be sufficiently trained.


Voluntary N-95 Respirator Use*

* During COVID-19 Pandemic: Under the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (Title 8, Section 3205), N-95 respirators for voluntary use when not required by occupational duties may be requested by employees in compliance with section 5144, Appendix D of the Respiratory Protection Standard.

Employees may voluntarily use a filtering facepiece respirator (i.e., N95, N99 disposable dust masks) when not required by the standard during activities that involve low-level exposures (below permissible exposure limits, threshold limit values), non-hazardous nuisance dust or another similar particulate.

Appendix D to Sec. 5144 (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard

STEP 1. Required Training and Documentation for N-95 Voluntary Use Request:

  1. N-95 Voluntary Use Compliance Brief: Filtering Facepiece Respirators and Masks
  2. N-95 Voluntary Use Training Handout
Acknowledgement Form:
  1. Employee Acknowledgement of Receipt, Review and understanding of Title 8 CCR § 5144 Appendix D (English)
  2. Employee Acknowledgement of Receipt, Review and understanding of Title 8 CCR § 5144 Appendix D (Spanish)

STEP 2. All of the above must be completed prior to submission:

Employee Medical Evaluations

A respirator medical evaluation is a health assessment that determines if an employee is medically fit to wear a respirator on the job. Also known as a respirator medical clearance, this evaluation helps to protect employees' health at work and ensures workplace compliance with respiratory protection standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

If your HEERA manager has determined that your position may need to wear a respirator, you will be contacted to register annually for an employee medical evaluation. If you feel that your position may need to wear a respirator, but you are not contacted, please speak to your HEERA manager and/or contact EHS at ehs@cpp.edu.

  • Download Questionnaire (PDF)
  • Register for Wednesday, February 21, 2024 On-Campus Medical Examination
  • Register for Monday, February 26, 2024 On-Campus Medical Examination
  • Those needing medical evaluation should make every effort to attend one of these two sessions. Please contact ehs@cpp.edu should one of these two dates not aline with your schedule.

Fit Testing

Under OSHA 1910.134, fit testing must be performed initially (before the employee is required to wear the respirator in the workplace) and must be repeated at least annually. Fit testing must also be conducted whenever respirator design or facial changes occur that could affect the proper fit of the respirator. Examples of conditions which would require additional fit testing of an employee include (but are not limited to) the use of a different size or make of respirator, weight loss, cosmetic surgery, facial scarring, the installation of dentures or absence of dentures that are normally worn by the individual.

  • Request a Fit Test by emailing ehs@cpp.edu

Respiratory Protection Training

These SumTotal courses cover information relating to respiratory hazards, protection mechanisms, and safe work practices. They also include information on how to use respiratory protection for protection from hazardous airborne contaminants in the work environment.

  • N95 Respirator (Filtering Facepiece Respirators and Masks)
  • Respiratory Protection 2.0 - Cal/OSHA
    • Respiratory Protection Impact: Inspections
    • Respiratory Protection Impact: Limitations of Respirators
    • Respiratory Protection Impact: Donning and Doffing
    • Respiratory Protection Impact: Maintenance and Storage

Confined Spaces

Confined spaces are areas that may pose a risk to an employee by presenting harmful breathing conditions in the form of noxious gases, asphyxiates, fumes, oxygen deficiency or flammable gases. Aside from the risk of suffocation, these areas may pose a physical risk of fire, explosion, reactivity etc. Due to the risk of entering confined spaces, a permitting process is required to grant access into these areas. This process is intended to ensure that the proper procedures, notifications, personal protective equipment and steps are in place to prevent an injury. At this time, EH&S reserves the option to contract out confined space services and may not approve new requests.

Best Practices for Masking

Wearing a well-fitted mask is an effective means of protection against airborne viruses, such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is mostly spread from person-to person by respiratory droplets. Droplets of viruses are projected into the air when people talk, sing, cough, or sneeze. They will stay in the space longer in an enclosed area with poor ventilation leading to higher infection risk for someone not wearing a face mask.

Wearing a mask is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the more easily transmitted variants. It helps to slow down the spread of COVID-19 by protecting others if you are infected and protects you if you are exposed to an infected person

Good fit and filtration continue to be the best way to get the most out of your mask. Some types of masks and respirators provide more protection to the wearer than others. Consider comfort, fit, and filtration properties of a mask that will offer the most protection and encourage you to wear it consistently.


A well-fitted mask covers your nose, mouth, and chin and fits snugly against your face without any gaps. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.

A mask with good filtration blocks the virus particles form going through the mask itself. A good filtration depends on the right materials and by using more layers. Higher grade masks (medical surgical, KN-95, N95) are recommended.


Visit the Safer Return Personal Protection webpage for more information