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How to Get a Respirator

Learn how to request an air-filtering respirator.

It is a state law and campus policy for all employees who require respirators as personal protective equipment to be certified under the campus Respiratory Protection Program. Certified means that you have been medically approved to use a respirator by UCSD COEM and have completed training and fit testing administered by EH&S. Certification is required before an employee may begin using the respirator and must be renewed at least annually. 

If you are not required to wear a respirator but would like to wear one under voluntary use, follow the Voluntary Use of N95-Respirators instructions.  

Follow the steps below to request a respirator:

1. Submit a Hazard Evaluation Form

First, complete and submit the online Hazard Evaluation form to EH&S. A respirator hazard evaluation is required to determine what type of respirator and cartridges is appropriate for your work. EH&S reviews how products are used, the frequency and quantity of use, and controls to assess your need for a respirator. Once your request has been reviewed and approved, EH&S will contact you with the next steps.

2. Medical Surveillance

Medical evaluation is required to determine an employee’s ability to use a respirator safely. The UCSD Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (COEM) administers the medical evaluation using the OSHA respirator questionnaire. Follow-up physical examination may be required based on job function or based on the physician’s discretion. 

  1. The OSHA respirator questionnaire will be assigned to you via your UCSD MyChart account. If you do not have an account, you must create one here.  
  2. Complete the questionnaire by the assigned appointment time and date. This time and date represents when your form will be reviewed virtually by an Occupational Health Provider. You do not need to show up for this appointment. If you do not complete the form by this time, the questionnaire will need to be reassigned and this will delay your certification. 
  3. Once your form has been reviewed, your respirator clearance will be sent to you and EH&S. 


3. Respirator Fit Testing

EH&S will contact you to schedule respirator fit testing at the (Centralized Research Services Facility) CRSF building on campus. Please allow approximately 15-20 minutes for each fit test appointment and if applicable, arrive clean-shaven so that there is no facial hair or stubble which may cross the sealing surface of the respirator. 

When you satisfactorily pass your fit test, you and your supervisor will be informed regarding the make and model respirator you have been certified to use. Your department is responsible for providing these supplies to you. Supplies can be purchased through Oracle Procurement. 

4. Training

Training is required initially and annually thereafter. Training topics include: 

  • Use and limitations of your respirator 
  • How to properly fit and check the seal of your respirator 
  • Cartridge use and change-out 
  • How to recognize medical signs and symptoms which may limit or prevent the effective use of your respirator 
  • Regulations governing respiratory protection in the workplace 

Access the online training course here: Respiratory Protection Course. 

  • Contact EH&S to schedule hands-on training for other respirator types such as powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR), supplied air respirators (SAR), and self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA). 

5. Annual Recertification

EH&S will notify you and your supervisor when you are due for your annual recertification.

Communicate with your supervisor and EH&S should you experience any of the following while you use the respirator:

  • Health symptoms. Stop using the respirator, report the incident to your supervisor and submit an employee incident report form.
  • Changes in physical condition which may affect the respirator fit should be discussed with the UC San Diego Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM).
  • . Examples may include:
    • Facial scarring
    • Dental changes
    • Cosmetic surgery
    • Obvious or significant change in body weight
  • Changes with work process which necessitate the use of the respirator. Examples may include:
    • New products used
    • Increase in product quantity or frequency of use
    • Change in engineering controls or new location
  • Any other difficulties while using the respirator

6. What to do when you no longer need your respirator?

Notify EH&S at when you no longer require the use of the respirator so that we may update our records.

Questions? Contact EH&S Occupational Health & Hygiene Services at