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Page Title: Elements of the Respiratory Protection Program
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Nuclear weapons and nuclear power systems have their own radiation protection and control programs. The program excludes those individuals, who as patients, are exposed to radiation while undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic  procedures. RESPIRATORY  PROTECTION  PROGRAM Many repair and maintenance operations generate air   contaminants   that   are   dangerous   if   inhaled. Engineering  controls,  such  as  local  exhaust  ventilation, are  the  most  effective  methods  of  protecting  personnel against such contaminants. When engineering controls are  not  possible,  personnel  must  wear  respiratory protection. OPNAVINST 5100.23C, chapter 15, and OPNAVINST   5100.19B,   chapter   B6,   cover   the Respiratory  Protection  Program. The   Respiratory   Protection   Program   requires training,  fit-testing,  recordkeeping,  medical  screening, and procurement and tracking of equipment. It also requires  the  purchase  of  respirators,  spare  parts,  and cartridges. Respirators  have  been  used  by  workers  for centuries. Discomfort from dust and smells drove some workers  to  invent  their  own  respirators  using  cloth  and animal bladders. The coal mining industry took the lead in  developing  and  certifying  respirators  for  miners suffering from black lung disease. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the National Institute for Occupational Safety  and  Health  (NIOSH)  and  the  Mine  Safety  and Health  Administration  (MSHA)  were  designated  as  the certifying  agencies  for  respirators. Respirators and respirator parts are designed and manufactured according to strict NIOSH and MSHA guidelines.  Respirators  that  NIOSH  and  MSHA  have tested  and  certified  are  labeled  with  a  NIOSH/MSHA certification number. Parts are not interchangeable between  manufacturers. Elements of the Respiratory Protection Program The  Respiratory  Protection  Program  must  include the  following  elements: Written  standard  operating  procedures Proper, hazard-specific selection of respirators User  training  in  the  proper  operation  and limitations  of  respirators Regular  cleaning  and  disinfection  of  respirators Convenient,  clean,  and  sanitary  storage  of respirators Inspection,    repair,   and   maintenance   of respirators Industrial  hygiene  surveys  to  identify  operations requiring respirators and to recommend specific types  of  respirators Periodic  monitoring  and  evaluation  of  program effectiveness Medical  qualification Use   of   only   NIOSH   and   MSHA   approved respirators Fit-testing Ashore, the commanding officer or officer in charge starts the program by appointing, in writing, a certified respiratory  protection  program  manager  (RPPM). Afloat,  the  commanding  officer  appoints,  in  writing,  a trained  respiratory  protection  officer  (RPO).  Although the duties of the RPPM and the RPO are similar, the duties of each depend on the size of the command and the extent to which command personnel use respirators. Selecting the Proper Respirators You must wear the correct respirator for the right job! A respirator is not going to do you any good if it is the wrong type. Some people believe they can wear the surgical  masks  worn  by  medical  personnel  during various evolutions, such as deck grinding and small welding  jobs.  Those  blue  surgical  masks  serve  only  one purpose–to keep the doctor from passing saliva to the patient.  Surgical  masks  will  not  protect  personnel  from any type of air contaminant. Selecting and wearing the correct,  properly  fitted  respirator  is  the  only  way workers can ensure they are protected. Identifying Various Types of Air Contaminants When  selecting  a  respirator,  we  must  first understand the six types of air contamination we may be exposed  to: Dust–Small   solid   particles   created   by   the breaking up of larger particles by processes such as crushing, grinding, sanding, or chipping. Some dusts are very  toxic,  such  as  the  sanding  dust  from  lead-based paints. 5-18

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