N95 Respirators

An N95 is a filtering face piece respirator. It is a particulate respirator, which filters out certain airborne particles. Respirators offer greater protection from airborne particulates than cloth face masks or disposable non-surgical masks.

How to get your N95

Currently, our campus is offering N95s to employees and students for use on a voluntary basis. N95 respirators are available now at Albee Hall 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for students and employees who are on campus over interim. N95 masks have also been delivered to the Fox Cities and Fond du Lac campuses.

Proper use and care of your N95

Because respirators offer better protection, they fit more tightly to the face and may feel harder to breathe through. It is important to put an N95 on correctly, as shown in the picture on the N95 package. The nosepiece should be adjusted to the nose with both hands; do not pinch it with one hand, as this doesn’t provide a good seal.

In most situations, N95s can be reused. Hanging an N95 by its strings in a clean, dry atmosphere for 3-4 days provides adequate time between uses. Users may wear them until they appear damaged, soiled or noticeably increase breathing resistance. Do not wash or spray disinfectant on your N95.

It is recommended users perform a seal check each time the N95 is put on. This is done by placing your hands over the N95 to cover it and exhaling gently. If you feel air escaping around your face, adjust the nosepiece or move the top string around on your head. Another seal check method is to cover the N95 and inhale sharply. The N95 should collapse a bit onto your face.

Individuals with facial hair along the edges of the respirator may experience a compromised fit, meaning the seal won’t be tight to the face, decreasing the protective potential of the N95.

OSHA Laws and Regulations – 1910.134 App D – (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When not Required Under Standard.

  • Part Number: 1910
  • Part Number Title: Occupational Safety and Health Standards
  • Subpart: 1910 Subpart I
  • Subpart Title: Personal Protective Equipment
  • Standard Number: 1910.134 App D
  • Title: (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When not Required Under Standard.
  • GPO Source: e-CFR

Appendix D to Sec. 1910.134 (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard

Respirators are an effective method of protection against designated hazards when properly selected and worn. Respirator use is encouraged, even when exposures are below the exposure limit, to provide an additional level of comfort and protection for workers. However, if a respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the respirator itself can become a hazard to the worker. Sometimes, workers may wear respirators to avoid exposures to hazards, even if the amount of hazardous substance does not exceed the limits set by OSHA standards. If your employer provides respirators for your voluntary use, or if you provide your own respirator, you need to take certain precautions to be sure that the respirator itself does not present a hazard.

You should do the following:

1. Read and heed all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the respirators limitations.

2. Choose respirators certified for use to protect against the contaminant of concern. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, certifies respirators. A label or statement of certification should appear on the respirator or respirator packaging. It will tell you what the respirator is designed for and how much it will protect you.

3. Do not wear your respirator into atmospheres containing contaminants for which your respirator is not designed to protect against. For example, a respirator designed to filter dust particles will not protect you against gases, vapors, or very small solid particles of fumes or smoke.

4. Keep track of your respirator so that you do not mistakenly use someone else’s respirator.

[63 FR 1152, Jan. 8, 1998; 63 FR 20098, April 23, 1998]