Environmental Health and Safety

Voluntary Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators and Filtering Facepieces

Virginia Tech faculty, staff and students who wish to use a respirator on a voluntary basis may do so with the approval of EHS. The status of voluntary user changes the type of administrative and medical services that would otherwise be provided to a non-voluntary user.

Voluntary users who are employees (wage, salary, or stipend) who wear a tight-fitting respirator are still required to complete a Respiratory Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (RQ) and be fit tested. The RQ can be completed at the time of your fit test. Those persons who wear a filtering facepiece respirator (e.g. N95 or similar) do not need to be medically cleared or fit tested. All voluntary users must review OSHA Appendix D to 29 CFR 1910.134

Voluntary users who are non-wage students or visiting scholars who need to wear a tight-fitting respirator must review and sign our Informed Consent form acknowledging that they are not aware of any medical conditions that would preclude the use of a respirator. This Informed Consent can be completed at the time of your fit test.

If you are not medically evaluated through the completion of the RQ or Informed Consent, and are not fit tested, you are not authorized to use a respirator. 


Respirators cannot be used on a voluntary basis if:

  • The respirator presents a hazard to the user.
  • Chemical/particulate exposures are known or may exceed regulatory permissable exposure limits. 

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