Steps for Properly Obtaining a Respirator

Do not buy a respirator!

MSU’s respiratory protection program (PDF) ensures the protection of all employees from respiratory hazards through the proper use of respirators. Respirators are to be used only when engineering controls are not feasible; When respirators are used, the requirements of the Respiratory Protection Program apply, along with Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, OSHA 1910.134 and The State of Michigan, Department of Consumer and Industry Services, Occupational Health Standards for General Industry, Rule 3502.

  • 1. For new hazards/job duties: contact the EHS Occupational Safety Team.

    Not all employees need to wear a respirator. A respirator is worn to protect an employee from certain hazards andconditions, such as harmful dust, vapors, and insufficient oxygen environments. A fit test is done to make sure the respirator’s facepiece provides an effective seal. This ensures that potentially hazardous substances are kept out of the mask. If hazards are unknown, call the EHS Occupational Safety Team, (517-355-0153) to discuss the hazards to be encountered, and determine if an assessment needs to be performed.

  • 2. Get cleared to wear a respirator by MSU Occupational Health.

    Unpaid students using the respirator for coursework do not need to complete this step - go to step 3.

    Employees: Check your status with MSU Occupational Health at Under Health Risks, verify that you have an active Respirator requirement and that the Compliance column shows "Compliant."

    herd compliance screenshot

    If you are not compliant, you will be required to complete a respirator questionnaire. See:

    Do not schedule a fit-test until you are cleared by Occupational Health.

    Medical clearance must be renewed periodically (interval determined by MSU Occupational Health). Coming due and expired notifications are sent by MSU Occupational Health.

  • 3. Schedule a respirator fit-test and training with MSU Environmental Health & Safety.

    Vet Med Personnel: contact Stephanie Smith-Edwards to schedule your appointment

    All other personnel: follow the process below.

    1. Review the Respirator Use PowerPoint
    2. Complete the 10-question quiz
    3. Schedule a fit-test appointment. You will receive an email confirmation.


    Preparing for the Fit Test Appointment

    • You can cancel or reschedule your appointment using the links provided in the Bookings email confirmation. Note that making an additional appointment does not cancel your previous appointment.
    • Men must be clean shaven where the mask will seal on the face. Mustache and goatee are acceptable as long as no hair interferes with the sealing of the mask.
    • Long hair must be worn pulled back or put up away from the face.
    • If you have been fit-tested previously, bring the respirator provided to you by your supervisor. If you were not provided a respirator, one will be provided for you during the fit test. Do not purchase a respirator until fit tested by EHS.
    • Don't be late! Appointments are scheduled back-to-back. Fit-tests are typically held in the Annex building at 4000 Collins Road (smaller building northeast of the main office building, with a reddish-brown roof, two garage doors). Call EHS at 517-355-0153 if having issues accessing the Annex.

    During the Fit Test Appointment

    • You will be given options for masks. Type of mask will depend on the hazard. You will be given the manufacturer, model, & size information as well as training. You will be tested quantitatively, (by machine) or qualitatively (by taste), depending on mask, size of group, taste threshold, etc. Each test typically takes 10 minutes or less.
    • When you pass the fit test:
      • N95 respirator – you will obtain the manufacturer, model and size information as well as training.
      • Other respirators – you will be given information for ordering, cartridge selection and change out.

    After the Fit Test Appointment

    • EHS will document the fit-test/training record in the Ability Training Compliance system. Training and fit-testing must be completed annually. Coming due and expired notifications are sent from

For questions: