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Respirators are used in the workplace to protect employees from inhaling hazardous materials present in the air. These materials can be in the form of gases, vapors, mists or dust. To provide proper protection, respirators must be the right type, must be worn correctly at all times, and must be maintained properly.

Participation in the UAB Respiratory Protection Program is required when the workplace use of a hazardous material itself cannot be eliminated or reduced to a level not associated with adverse health effects or there is no less hazardous alternative material that can be utilized. Employees will be evaluated for existing health conditions that may not be compatible with respirator use. Once medically cleared by the UAB Occupational Medicine Physician, employees may be fit tested for the respirator best suited for them and their job.

Examples of job activities at UAB that require a respirator include but are not limited to:
  • Staff working in or entering BSL3-Tb labs
  • Staff working with animals infected with Tb, H1N1 Influenza
  • Staff cleaning spills of human pathogens transmitted by the aerosol route outside of a biosafety cabinet
  • Staff working in or entering labs and/or the animal facility of SEBLAB
  • Staff working in or entering a patient room requiring "airborne precautions"
  • Staff working with chemical agents that exceed regulated airborne limits