Respiratory protection

Training & fit testing

All respirator users should receive training and fit testing prior to using this equipment. Please contact EHS for more information:

Who needs to use a respirator?

Respirators are used by employees for protection from respiratory hazards encountered during regular work conditions, repair, maintenance and spill clean-up. Respirators must only be used in situations that have been reviewed by supervisors and only by personnel who have been appropriately trained and fit tested. They must not be used in situations that are immediately dangerous to life or health, or where there is insufficient oxygen.

For respirator fit testing, check and use, users must be clean shaven. Where the seal fits the face, facial hair can prevent a complete seal, and cause contaminants to leak into the respirator.

Respirators are required for the following situations:

  • Working with hazardous fumes, dusts or vapours where engineering controls are not available or practical.
  • An escape respirator in the event of a hazardous material release.
  • During spill clean-up operations.
  • Other situations that will be reviewed with EHRS before work starts.

Cartridge respirators

The following procedures apply to the use of half-mask or full face dual cartridge respirators. A cartridge type respirator may only be used for protection against materials that provide an adequate warning when the mask leaks or the material has broken through the cartridges.  They are inappropriate for chemicals that are toxic at very low levels and for chemicals that have poor odour warning properties.  Consult with EHRS if further information is required.

Selecting an appropriate cartridge

The cartridges noted below are available for use with half-mask and full-face respirators. Select the cartridge that is designed for the type of respirator and materials you are using. For spills, organic vapour-acid gas cartridges are recommended. Consult with your supervisor on cartridge use.

Cartridge Type



Organic Vapour/acid gas


Laboratory procedures

Organic vapour only


High volume solvent extraction



Toxic aerosols and dusts

Ammonia, amines


Laboratory procedures

Acid gas

Lt. grey

Acid Spill

There are several types of cartridges that address other classes of specific airborne hazardous materials. Cartridges that can combine two of the above types are also available.

For more information in selecting the appropriate cartridge for the hazard you will be working with, please consult the Respirator Guide Chart.