Respiratory Protection

Typically, respiratory protection is not needed in a laboratory to eliminate exposures. Under most circumstances, safe work practices and engineering controls (e.g., fume hoods) adequately protect workers. Under certain circumstances, however, respiratory protection may be needed as determined by EH&S. These can include:

image of person wearing mask and goggles

  • Chemical spill outside the fume hood, or spill of biohazard outside a biosafety cabinet
  • An unusual operation that can’t be conducted in fume hood or biosafety cabinet
  • Weighing powders outside a glove box or other protective enclosure. Disposable filtering face-piece respirators are generally recommended for nuisance dusts.
  • When monitoring shows that exposures exist that cannot be otherwise controlled
  • As required by a specific laboratory protocol or as defined by applicable regulations

Affected individuals must enroll in the UCSB Respiratory Protection Program which is designed to fully meet Cal-OSHA requirements (CCR, Title 8, 5144). Because there are numerous types of respirators available, and each has specific limitations and applications, respirator selection and use requires pre-approval by EH&S. For either required or voluntary use of any respirator, the worker must contact EH&S (805.893.8787, or 805.893.3743, or ) After an evaluation of the work situation, if a respirator is deemed necessary, EH&S will provide the required medical evaluation (questionnaire), training and quantitative fit-testing.