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Human Resources Department

Occupational Safety & Health Unit

Respiratory Protection Program

Photo of man in half-face respirator surrounded by caution tape holding up hand signaling viewer not to come any closer.

Due to the unique mission and operating environments of the departments and special agencies within Sonoma County there are some limited  situations in which employees must work in environments with insufficient oxygen or where harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, fumes, gases, vapors, or sprays are present.

In regards to Respiratory Protection, the primary objective is for the department to develop work practices that, as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials), prevents atmospheric contamination. When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators are required to protect the health of the employee

Respirators which are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended must be provided by the department directing the work, when such equipment is necessary. Additionally, the department directing work shall be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a respiratory protection program.  

Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees that varies with the type of respirator worn, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is used, and the medical status of the employee. Accordingly, a medical evaluation, in addition to an equipment specific fit test, is required initially and re-certification annually to determine the employee's ability to safely use a respirator prior to donning any equipment.

To get more information on the applicability of this program for a specific County operation please contact the corresponding departmental Safety Coordinator.

For further information on specific regulatory guidelines please refer to the link(s) below.

Cal-OSHA Respiratory Protection Regulations

Cal-OSHA Guide to Respiratory Protection in the Workplace

Cal-OSHA Respiratory Protection Fact Sheet