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How to Get a Respirator

Learn how to request an air-filtering respirator.

COVID-19 Update

The nation is currently facing a critical shortage of respirator supplies along with other types of personal protective equipment (PPE). Departments who have employees using respirators as part of personal protective equipment should limit the use of designated essential activities only.

In accordance with state and federal regulations, UC San Diego - EH&S is currently providing limited respirator certification services during this time. Additional safeguards and precautions are implemented to ensure the safety of both the program administrator and the customer during this process. Please continue to check back with this page for regular updates or send an email to ehsih@ucsd.edu to request more information.

Current updates (Last updated 4/9/2020)

• Annual respirator fit testing for N95-respirators (filtering facepiece respirators) are temporarily suspended to conserve limited stock of supplies. Respirator users shall continue to wear the same type and model respirator they have been successfully fit tested for within the previous year.
• Annual respirator fit testing for half-face and full-face respirators are expected to continue as usual if the employee is continuing to use the respirator to perform essential work activities. If the employee is not currently performing work that necessitates the use of the respirator, annual recertification shall be temporarily suspended.
• Initial respirator use requests must be reviewed and approved by EH&S before an employee can use a respirator as personal protective equipment. To request respirator use evaluation for work, submit your request to EH&S using this form: https://blink.ucsd.edu/sponsor/EHS/forms-ehs/respirator-use-request-form.html

  • See Respiratory Protection Program for more information about regulatory requirements, annual certification, and costs associated with testing and equipment.

If respiratory protection may be necessary for your job, submit a Hazard Evaluation form to Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S). An EH&S specialist will evaluate the type of materials or atmosphere that may be encountered in your work and determine the most effective and efficient means of respiratory protection for you.

Before a respirator and filters can be issued, you must be certified through the Respiratory Protection Program administered by EH&S. Certified means you are medically approved by UCSD Occupational & Environmental Medicine and have completed Air-Purifying Respirator Training and fit testing by EH&S.

Follow the steps below to request a respirator:

1. Submit a Hazard Evaluation form.

An EH&S specialist will use the Hazard Evaluation information to determine if respiratory protection is necessary for your work (a respirator may not be necessary).

If a respirator is required, EH&S will ask you to apply for medical approval (step 2). Do not fill out the medical questionnaire forms until you are directed to do so by EH&S.

2. Apply for medical approval.

Important: Do not fill out the medical forms below until you are directed by EH&S to apply for medical approval.

  • Print and complete the form below:
  • Send the completed forms to the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse:
    • Mail Code 0090 (in a sealed envelope)
    • Fax: (858) 534-7561

UCSD Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) or the EH&S Occupational Health Nurse will review the forms and send medical approval or denial to the EH&S specialist.

If you are denied medical approval to wear a respirator, the EH&S specialist will consult with you on other means of respiratory protection.

If you are medically approved, the EH&S specialist will schedule an appointment for you to be:

  • Fit tested for a facepiece and filters appropriate for your work
  • Trained in proper use and care of your respirator

3. Get fit tested and trained to use your new respirator.

Bring your department's index number when you come to EH&S for respirator fit testing and training. The cost of the fit test, respirator, and filters will be recharged to your department.

Men must be clean shaven along the perimeter of the mask to pass the fit test for a half-mask or full-face respirator.

When you satisfactorily pass the fit test, the respirator will be issued to you. You will then be trained on:

  • Fit, usage, and care of your respirator
  • Limitations of respirators
  • How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of your respirator
  • Regulations governing respiratory protection in the workplace

4. Renew your respirator certification annually.

Annual certification is required. EH&S will notify you when it is time for renewal.

5. What to do when you no longer need your respirator.

Return unwanted respirators to EH&S Occupational Health & Hygiene at Mail Code 0958. Please include your name and department.
Questions? Contact EH&S Occupational Health & Hygiene Services at ehsih@ucsd.edu.