All City of Toronto Divisions with situations in which respiratory protective devices are used for protection against exposure to potentially hazardous environments, such as oxygen-deficiency or airborne contaminants (dusts, fumes, mists, gases, vapours, bioaerosols) or for reasons of odour relief, comfort etc. will develop and implement, in consultation with users, a written Respiratory Protection Program.
The program will be in keeping with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its associated regulations, as well as current accepted industry standards such as the Canadian Standards Association – Z94.4-11 – Selection, Use and Care of Respirators. Program elements will include hazard assessment; respirator selection and issuance; cartridge change out schedules (if cartridges are used); fit testing; medical surveillance; equipment cleaning, storage, inspection and maintenance; training and program evaluation.
Respirator selection appropriate for the task and work location will be based on assessment of the airborne hazard by a qualified person. Only NIOSH approved respirators will be issued.
All employees assigned to a task or work area requiring the use of a tight-fitting face-piece respirator must be fit tested. Fit testing also applies to voluntary uses of a tight-fitting respirator. Fit-testing will be performed prior to issuance of a respirator and every two years thereafter for all users, and only when there are no medical conditions preventing the use of a respirator and no interferences with the respirator-face seal.
A process must be established to ensure that employees are medically fit to wear a respiratory protective device. This may be achieved either by:
- Having all employees assessed by a health care professional prior to fit testing and respirator use to confirm whether they are medically fit to wear respirators, or
- Having employees complete a self declaration form prior to fit testing and respirator use (see samples in tool kit attached) in which they are asked to identify whether there are potential health issues that preclude them wearing a respirator. When there is doubt about the fitness or ability of the person to wear a respirator, the employee who is required to use respirators will seek review by a physician.
When an employee is deemed by a physician to be unfit to wear a tight-fitting respirator, attempts will be made to look at appropriate alternative types of respirators that are not tight fitting. When an employee is deemed by a physician to be unfit to wear any type of respirator, the employee will be assigned tasks not requiring the use of a respirator.
Users of a tight-fitting respirator must be clean-shaven where the respirator-face piece seals to the skin when using the respirator. For employees who cannot be clean shaven for religious reasons and where the use of a respirator is an integral part of their work, attempts will be made to look at appropriate alternative types of respirators that are not tight fitting.
Prior to issuance of a respirator and at least every two years thereafter, a person must receive training on the use, limitations and care of the respirator, and be fit tested. All records of respirator fit-checks and training will be maintained by the division issuing the respirator.
Compressed breathing air and air compressors used for supplied-air respirators or self contained breathing apparatus shall comply with CSA Standard Z180.1-M85.