Respirator Use Guidelines and Fit Testing FAQ

Ohio State's Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), in compliance with state laws, adopted from Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules found at 29 CFR 1910.134, has developed the Ohio State Respiratory Protection Program (RPP). This program covers all Ohio State employees (faculty and staff) who are required to wear respiratory protection.


What is the Ohio State Respiratory Protection Program (RPP)?

The RPP contains guidelines to ensure Ohio State employees and departments comply with federal and state safety regulations relating to the use and care of respiratory protection.

Do you wear a respirator while at work? 

Whether you wear a tight-fitting respirator that uses hazard-specific cartridges or N95 filtering face pieces while at work, you are required to follow guidelines outlined in the RPP.

How do I know if I need a respirator? 

Respirator use is determined based on a combination of known job hazards for existing job classifications or through a hazard assessment conducted by EHS, in collaboration with Employee Health Services.  Generally, respirators are worn to protect workers from airborne workplace hazards such as harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays.  If you are unsure whether a respirator is required, contact EHS for a hazard assessment of your work area.

What if, as a precaution and not due to any known hazards, I want to wear a respirator on my own?

Employees not required to wear a respirator due to a known hazard may do so voluntarily.  Voluntary users of N95 type respirators are not required to be fit tested or medically cleared.  Voluntary users of N95 respirators must be provided with information found in OSHA 1910.134 Appendix D.

Voluntary use of all other types of respirators (other than N95) requires departmental approval and compliance with the RPP including fit testing, training and medical clearance.

How do I obtain medical clearance?

Employees who have been told by their employer or EHS through a hazard assessment that they are exposed to hazards requiring the use of a respirator should first complete the Online Risk Assessment Tool (ORAT) and be sure to identify as a respirator user.  Your submission will be reviewed by EHS and Employee Health Services.

How do I schedule medical clearance? 

Once the ORAT is accepted, the date and time of your medical clearance appointment will be emailed to the address provided in the ORAT submission.  Medical clearance documentation will be provided to the employee, employee’s supervisor and EHS representative responsible for fit testing following the conclusion of the appointment.

Is online annual training required?

Annual respiratory protection training is required for all respirator users.

How do I complete the required online annual training? 

Online training for respiratory protection is available through the EHS website via the online training platform or in BuckeyeLearn. Training takes approximately 20 minutes and requires a passing score greater than 70% to count as complete for the calendar year.

Is fit testing required annually?

The RPP requires that respirator fit testing be performed initially (before the employee is required to wear a respirator) and at least annually when respirator use is required.  Medical clearance and online training must be completed prior to a fit test appointment.  Fit testing (except for Wexner Medical Center employees) is conducted at the EHS office located at 1314 Kinnear Road in Room 121. Large departmental groups can work with EHS to arrange for on-site testing.

How do I schedule a fit test? 

To schedule fit tests, employees should use the online EHS portal. Under the additional service request, please select the “Respirator Fit Test” option. Users will be prompted to sign-in, select the type of fit test (e.g., N95 or Half/Full Face), and select the time of testing.

Fit testing is provided free of charge to all Ohio State employees who are required by regulation to wear a respirator.  Fit testing for voluntary users can be arranged through EHS for a fee.

Where can Wexner Medical Center employees get fit tested? 

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center employees can arrange for fit testing through the Medical Center Safety department using MyTools.

Where can I find additional information about the Respiratory Protection Program?

The Environmental Health and Safety website has information about all written safety programs including Respiratory Protection.  Additionally, an EHS staff member can be contacted via to provide additional information, answer questions, or provide support.