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Respiratory Protection

Different types of respirators

The Cornell University Respiratory Protection Program is intended to outline the correct use of respiratory protection by employees and students who could be exposed to hazardous substances or atmospheres. This program is in compliance with The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).

Whenever possible, respiratory exposures will be controlled by implementing engineering, work practice, and administrative controls.  Respiratory protection will be provided to employees and students to be utilized when it has been determined that engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible and or do not provide sufficient protection.

Respiratory Hazards may include:

  • Harmful dusts (lead, silica, and other heavy metals)
  • Fumes and smokes (welding fume)
  • Gases and vapors (chemical exposures)
  • Biological hazards (tuberculosis, whooping cough, flu viruses)

Respiratory Protection and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Work-related COVID-19 Respiratory Hazards

COVID-19 is a respiratory hazard. Front-line medical providers, emergency responders and researchers in contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus should use a particulate filtering respirator to protect themselves. The Cornell University Respiratory Protection Program applies to all faculty, staff and students who are required to use respiratory protection as part of their normal work duties.  Respiratory protection will be provided to employees and students to be utilized when it has been determined that engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible and or do not provide sufficient protection.  If you are an employee of Cornell University and believe that you need a respirator for such a scenario, please fill out the HS12_F001_Respirator Request Form to begin the review process by EHS. 

Non-work related COVID-19 Respiratory Hazards

The university has implemented engineering and administrative controls to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission across campus.  The use of these controls has been shown to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in general populations. In these situations, the Respiratory Protection Program does not apply to employees and students and respirator use is considered Voluntary Use.

The university acknowledges that there may be situations where the use of a N95 may be needed by individuals due to existing medical conditions and not due to work or job related exposure. Individuals may request to wear an N95 respirator as an ADA accommodation  and must contact one of the following as it applies to them:

  • For Employees:
    • Contact the Medical Leaves Administration in Human Resources at wcds@cornell.edu or for more information, visit Medical Leaves Administration’s disability accommodations webpage. The use of an N95 as an ADA workplace accommodation shall only be used by employees in positions that are deemed to not have occupational exposure to respiratory hazards. 
  • For Students:

If a person has received clearance or approval for a ADA accommodation, they must complete Respirator Voluntary Use Sign Off in CULearn .  The wearer of the N95 acknowledges that wearing it does not replace the need to adhere to other Cornell University and CDC guidance to limit the spread of illness (social distancing, proper hand hygiene, etc…).  The use of an N95 as an accommodation does not require enrollment in the Cornell University Respiratory Protection Program and therefore does not require medical clearance or fit testing.   The issuing department or the accommodated persons’ supervisor should provide the N95 respirator.  The accommodated person may also provide the option they would like to wear. As available, respiratory protection can be found at e-SHOP or by contacting the procurement group at procurement@cornell.edu or call the Procurement helpline at (607) 254-5300 for assistance.  If you cannot procure N95 respirators, please contact askEHS@cornell.edu.
 

Written Program/Manuals

PDF file Respiratory Protection Program Requires Login

Forms

PDF file HS12_F001_Respirator Request Requires Login

Training Resources

Toolbox Talk

PDF file N95 Respiratory Protection Toolbox Talk Requires Login
PDF file Respiratory Protection Toolbox Talk Requires Login