Caution! Employee Respirator Use: Can you just hand out respirators for employees to use whenever?

There are very specific OSHA requirements for using respirators, even certain disposable masks?  Medical clearance, employee training, annual fit testing, employee exposure monitoring, and a written respiratory protection program are some of the many OSHA requirements for using most respirators.

Do you know the difference between voluntary use and required use of respirators? You must know what chemicals your employees are exposed to and at what concentrations.  This requires employee exposure monitoring which will help determine:
(1) if a respirator is required or can be used on a voluntary basis, and
(2) what type of respirator would provide adequate protection.

If it is determined that respirator use would be voluntary, remember that tight fitting respirators require a medical clearance, training, and the employee must read and sign the Appendix D of OSHAs Respiratory Protection Standard 29CFR1910.134.