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Respiratory Safety Program                

How to get/use a respirator at NMSU (per NMSU Respiratory Safety Program)

NMSU Respiratory Safety Program
Summary Steps: Before you can be use a respirator as an NMSU employee (for NMSU work), you must be certified by NMSU Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S). Follow these steps.
What to do How to do it

Hazard evaluation:
Inhalation health hazards as noted on a chemical's MSDS is often the first indication that respirator protection is needed.
If the task has not been evaluated for hazards (e.g. new projects involving solvents and other volatile compounds) request a workplace evaluation.

  1. Attendance at a NMSU Employee & Hazard Communication Safety class is required prior to the respirator safety class. This will help determine if you are working with hazardous materials or if respiratory protection from harmful chemical vapors or fumes is required. See class schedule
  2. EH&S can schedule an evaluation of your workplace activities to help determine the most effective and efficient means of respiratory protection for you. A respirator may not be necessary. 
  3. If respiratory protection is necessary for your work, follow the next step.
2 Apply for medical approval.
  1. Print out and complete the form below:
  2. Send or deliver the completed forms to the Campus Health Center, MSC 3EHS, PO Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM, 88003 (Campus address - 3080 Breland Dr, Las Cruces, NM 88003 phone (575) 646-1512).  A physician or PA at Employee health will review the forms and send medical approval or denial to EH&S.
  3. If you are denied medical approval to wear a respirator, your department may be able to arrange other means of respiratory protection.
  4. If you are medically approved, you should schedule to attend the next class (training calendar) on Respiratory Safety which will include:
    • Training in proper use and care of your respirator
    • Fit tested for a face piece and filters appropriate for your work
3 Get fit tested and trained to use your new respirator.
  1. Attend EH&S class for respirator fit testing and training.
  2. When you satisfactorily pass the fit test, the respirator can be used by you.
  3. You will then be trained on:
    • Fit, usage, and care of your respirator
    • Limitations of respirators
    • How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of your respirator
    • Regulations governing respiratory protection in the workplace
  4. Men will generally need to be clean shaven along the parameter of the mask in order to pass the fit test for a half-mask or full face respirator.
4 Renew your respirator certification annually.
  1. Annual certification requires that you review the respirator safety standards (attend class & pass respirator safety quiz) and are re-fitted to your respirator. Your supervisor (or EH&S) will notify you when it is time for renewal.
5 What to do when you no longer need your respirator.
  1. Return unwanted respirators to EH&S.  Please include your name and department. Send to EH&S Office, MSC 3578, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM 88003
Questions regarding NMSU's Respiratory Protection Program? Contact EH&S, (575) 646-3327.

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