EH&S is committed to ensuring Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) employees are provided with a safe and healthful working environment. EH&S offers a respiratory protection program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134 to protect employees at risk of encountering airborne contaminants and toxic vapors. As a first line of defense, EH&S requires that toxic materials be substituted with less toxic ones when possible, engineering controls be used to contain hazards (e.g. fume hoods), and/or work practices implemented so work can be conducted safely. EH&S will determine if a hazard still exists after all the previous safe guards have been implemented and personnel will be evaluated for respirator use. Prerequisites for participation in the GUMC Respiratory Protection Program include: EH&S review, a medical clearance, fit-testing, and mandatory annual refresher training.
Environments that may not be deemed hazardous by regulation 29 CFR 1910.134 may still pose a risk for certain employees (e.g. animal allergies). This risk is determined by the employee in conjunction with their personal physician and GU Occupational Health. Certain types of respirators can be worn by employees in these workplaces on a voluntary basis. It must be shown that voluntary respirator use does not create an additional hazard to the employee and can be determined by chest x-ray and a pulmonary function test if necessary. Voluntary use respirators must be used in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134.