Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Program Summary


Respirators are commonly used throughout the Virginia Tech campus by various departments. Faculty, staff and students use them for protection against bioaerosols, asbestos fibers, welding fumes, wood dust, animal dander, nanomaterials, and many other forms of particulates and organic vapors. When effective engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation or chemical fume hoods are not available, or do not provide effective capture of the contaminant to ensure the employee's personal exposure is below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), appropriate respiratory protection must be provided to the employee.

If you suspect that there are exposures of concern in your work area, the supervisor should complete a Respiratory Hazard Assessment form and send it to EHS for review. EHS will follow up with a discussion with the supervisor, visual observation of the task, and perform personal air monitoring if necessary to determine the postential for exposure to your employees. Those employees who are assigned a respirator must comply with the requirements outlined in the Respiratory Protection Program.

Voluntary Use:

An employee who is not exposed above OSHA PELs, but chooses to wear a respirator for his or her own comfort, must still comply with certain elements of this program. If you are a voluntary user of a respirator, or if you have employees in your workgroup that use respirators and have not consulted with EHS, please call 231-2509 or email the program administrator at respirators@vt.edu.