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Respiratory Protection Program

Worker wearing a respirator

Learn about UC San Diego's respiratory protection program and how to get a respirator.

A respirator, or air-filtering face piece, is designed to specifically filter out hazards that may enter the body through the nose and mouth when a person breathes. UCSD's Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) ensures employees who use respirators understand their capabilities and limitations.

Requirement for supervisors

Supervisors are required to assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present or likely to be present that necessitate the use of PPE, provide employees with appropriate PPE and training, and require them to use and maintain it.

A respirator may at times be required to protect the health of employees when the work environment is contaminated with materials that are hazardous to breathe. At UCSD, this may include:

  • Employees who enter confined spaces
  • Paint sprayers
  • Pesticide and fertilizer applicators
  • Hazardous materials handlers
  • Some researchers
  • Asbestos abatement employees
  • Some art studio employees
  • Employees whose exposure level is at or above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of the contaminant

If a respirator may be necessary for your workplace, see How to Get a Respirator.


Use of respirators is strictly regulated in California. Employees who are required to wear a respirator or filtering facepiece during work activities must first be certified through the Respiratory Protection Program administered by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S).

Certification must be completed annually when there is a requirement to use any of the following types of respirators:

Type of respirators

Certification includes initial and annual:

Facepieces and filters are issued specifically for the type of materials or atmosphere the employee may encounter.


The cost of respirator certification and respiratory protection supplies provided by EH&S is the responsibility of the department or laboratory and is completed through the recharge process.

Voluntary use of N-95 filtering facepieces

When no workplace hazard is identified that requires respiratory protection, an individual may choose to wear an N-95 mask for personal or comfort reasons.

Cal/OSHA encourages voluntary users of N-95 filtering facepieces to review Appendix D, Section 5144 of the California Respiratory Protective Equipment standard. UCSD encourages these employees to follow standard operating procedures developed for voluntary users.

Regulations and policies

Note: this page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/respirator