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Respiratory Protection Program

Fit testing in action.png
The goal of the respiratory protection program is to protect individuals at UTHealth Houston from breathing in harmful airborne contaminants or infectious aerosols while they work or learn. This is accomplished through implementation of procedures to ensure the proper use of respiratory protection and adherence to the guidelines from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
The Office of Safety, Health, Environment, and Risk Management (SHERM) manages this program. More information regarding this program is provided in the UTHealth Houston Respiratory Protection Manual.

Situations when respiratory protection is needed

As much as possible, eliminating or reducing exposure to respiratory hazards shall be achieved primarily through elimination of the use of a hazardous process, substituting with a safer material, use of accepted engineering controls like general or local exhaust ventilations, changes in processes or enclosure of process.
If these alternatives are not feasible, the use of approved respirators is necessary for tasks such as, but not limited to:
  • Those that release harmful dusts, mists, fumes, vapors or gases
  • Those that occur in areas in which unacceptable levels of exposure could result from the processing, handling, storing, or disposing of hazardous materials
  • Those that require entry in oxygen-deficient or potentially oxygen-deficient environment
  • Those that may exposure the individual to infectious aerosols such as when providing clinical care to patients


Notify EH&S of all practices where employees or students might need to wear respirators
Conducts periodic surveys and monitoring to assess the need for, or continued use of, respiratory protection
Recommends appropriate respirators, conducts respirator fit tests and training
UT Health Services (Employee Health) and Student Health Services
Perform and records medical surveillance of all respirator wearers (for employees and students, respectively) at no cost
Respirator wearer
Completes medical evaluation prior to respirator fit test and use
Wears properly the right type of respirator and related equipment as trained

Types of respirators

1. Air-purifying: respirators that removes contaminants from the air. (e.g. N95 respirator)
2. Atmosphere-supplying: supplies a clean supply of breathing air from an independent source (e.g. self-contained breathing apparatus)

For information about different types of respirators and examples, click here

Factors to consider when selecting a respirator

  • Nature and concentration of the airborne hazard the worker is exposed
  • Extent of exposure
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Work requirements and conditions
  • Characteristics and limitations of available respirators

Respirator Protection Program Questionnaire Form

This medical questionnaire is a mandatory requirement for employees, students, medical residents, and fellows at UTHealth Houston who need to wear a respirator in the workplace or while participating in learning and clinical activities. The purpose of this questionnaire is to evaluate your suitability for using respiratory protection devices, such as N95 respirators, and to ensure your health and safety during their use.

Please Follow These Guidelines:

Confidentiality and Completion: You have the right to complete this questionnaire during your regular working hours, or at a time and place that is convenient for you. Your answers are confidential and will not be reviewed by your employer or supervisor.
Submission: After completing the questions below, please press “Submit” to send your information directly to UT Health Services (for employees, medical residents, fellows) or UT Student Health and Counseling Services (for students). It is important that your information is accurate and complete for a proper assessment.
Review of Your Questionnaire: Depending on your role (Employee, Fellow, Resident, or Student), your completed questionnaire will be reviewed by the appropriate department (UT Health Services for employees and residents, or Student Health Services for students).
Respirator Training: Upon completion of the fit test, you will receive training on the proper handling, storage, and use of respirators.

Please ensure you provide detailed and accurate responses to all questions to facilitate a smooth process.

Step 1: Questionnaire Completion

Fill out the Respiratory Protection Program Medical Questionnaire thoroughly.

Review Process:

For Employees, Fellows, or Residents: UT Health Services will review your completed questionnaire. For queries, contact
For Students: The UT Student Health and Counseling Services will review your questionnaire. For inquiries, contact
Post-Submission: Wait 7 to 10 business days after submission before scheduling a fit test.
Conditions for Re-submission: You must resubmit the questionnaire if:
1. You experience medical signs or symptoms affecting respirator use.
2. A health care professional, supervisor, or program administrator recommends re-evaluation.
3. Workplace conditions change significantly (i.e., physical work effort, protective clothing, temperature), impacting the physiological burden on you.

Step 2: Scheduling Your Fit Test

Fit Test Scheduling: To undergo a fit test, which is required for the use of any respirator with a tight-fitting facepiece, such as the N95 respirator, you need to schedule an appointment.
Clinical Personnel under UTPhysicians: If you are part of this group, you will be scheduled for fit testing during NEO training, unless instructed otherwise.
Other Participants: If you are not under UTPhysicians, you have two options:
Individual Appointment: You can schedule an individual appointment for fit testing.
Large Group Sessions: Alternatively, you can attend one of our large group sessions. These sessions are frequently organized for various schools and buildings, offering a convenient opportunity for fit testing.
Preparation for Fit Test:
Do not eat, chew gum, or drink anything except water for at least 15 minutes before your fit test.
Males must be clean-shaven to be fit tested.
Contact Information: For scheduling and more information, contact the EHS Chemical Safety Program at 713-500-5832.

Step 3: N95 Respirator Training

Training Details: Upon completion of the fit test, you will receive training on the proper handling, storage, and use of N95 respirators.
Fit Test Card: After successfully completing the fit test, you will be issued a fit test card. This card serves as proof of completion and includes essential details such as the type/model/size of the respirator, the fit testing protocol used, and the expiration date of the fit test.
Record of Training: After the training, please complete the Record of Fit Test Completion and Training form to acknowledge your participation and understanding.

Step 4: Annual Requirements

Annual Fit Tests: Conduct these tests yearly to ensure ongoing suitability for respirator use.
Refresher Training: Provided at the end of each annual fit test.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the EHS Chemical Safety Program at 713-500-5832.

Respirator Protection Program Questionnaire Form