Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) protect the user from inhaling hazardous materials such as dust, smoke, animal dander, and toxic fumes from high risk substances.

Before using a respirator you must complete the HSE Respiratory Protective Equipment Course and get a fit test for the type of RPE(s) (N95, half face, full face, powered air purifying, supplied air) you will be wearing with any cartridge(s) (e.g. P100, OV, etc.) you will be using.

You must perform a fit test when:

  • First using a respirator
  • Changing the type of respirator or cartridge you are using
  • When you gain or lose a substantial amount of weight (+/- 40 lbs)
  • Every 2 years
  • If you experience a significant health change
  • If you cannot perform a successful user seal check on your RPE

When using a respirator you must:

  • Make sure you are using the appropriate respirator and cartridge for the hazard
    • Check Section 8 of the SDS sheet
  • Put the opening/start of use date on all cartridges
  • Be clean shaven
    • Facial hair affects the quality of the seal on the RPE
  • Check for damage or wear before and after using
  • Perform a user seal check every time you put the RPE on following the manufacturer instructions
  • Wipe down your respirator after every use
  • Store your respirator in a clean, sealable, plastic bag to prevent contamination
  • Clean your RPE according to the manufacturer instructions following the cleaning schedule
  • Replace filters/cartridges according to the change schedule, if they have expired, if they are soiled, or if you detect a new smell or irritation

The HSE Respiratory Protection Program lays out all the responsibilities, practices, and regulations using RPE.

Keep track of your site specific Code of Practice for RPE(s) using the linked document.