Chapter 296-842, WAC

Effective Date: 12/01/09

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Maintain respirators in a clean and reliable condition

Store respirators properly
Inspect and repair respirators


WAC 296-842-17005

Maintain respirators in a clean and reliable condition

  • This section applies to employees who voluntarily use respirators only when maintenance is necessary to prevent the respirator from creating a hazard. See WAC 296-842-11005 for voluntary use requirements.

(1) Make sure respirators are kept, at no cost to the employee, clean, sanitary and in good working order.

(2) Clean and disinfect respirators as often as specified in Table 8 of this section.



  • Use required cleaning and disinfecting procedures in
    WAC 296-842-22015, or the manufacturer’s procedures that:

    – Result in a clean and sanitary respirator;

    – Don’t damage the respirator;

    – Don’t harm the user.

  • Automated cleaning and disinfecting are permitted.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting may be done by a central facility as long as you make sure respirators provided are clean, sanitary, and function properly.

(3) Make sure respirators are assembled properly after cleaning or disinfecting.


Table 8
Required Frequencies for
Cleaning and Disinfecting Respirators
If, the respirator will be Then clean and disinfect the respirator
Used exclusively by one employee

As often as needed to:

• Keep it clean and functional

• To prevent health hazards such as skin irritation

Shared for nonemergency use
Used for fit-testing or training
Before it's worn by another employee
Shared for emergency use After each use so the respirator is immediately ready for use at all times

WAC 296-842-17010 

Store respirators properly

(1) Store respirators to protect them from all of the following:

(a) Deformation of the facepiece or exhalation valve

(b) Sunlight or extreme temperatures or other conditions

(c) Contamination such as dust or damaging chemicals

(d) Excessive moisture.



Use coffee cans, sealable plastic bags, or other suitable means of protection.

(2) Follow these additional requirements for emergency respirators:

(a) Keep respirators accessible to the work area

(b) Store respirators in compartments or with covers clearly marked as containing emergency respirators

(c) Follow additional storage instructions from the respirator manufacturer

(d) Store an adequate number of emergency respirators in each area where they may be needed.



Emergency respirators include mouthpiece respirators and other respirators that are limited to escape-only use by their NIOSH certification.

WAC 296-842-17015  

Inspect and repair respirators

(1) Conduct respirator inspections as often as specified in Table 9.
(2) Make sure respirator inspections cover all of the following:

(a) Respirator function

(b) Tightness of connections

(c) The condition of the facepiece, head straps, valves, connecting tubes, and cartridge, canisters or filters

(d) Pliability and deterioration of elastomeric parts

(e) Maintenance of air or oxygen cylinders

(f) Making sure SCBA air cylinders are at 90% of the manufacturer’s recommended pressure level

(g) Proper functioning of SCBA regulators when air-flow is activated

(h) Proper functioning of SCBA low-pressure warning devices when activated

(3) Certify inspections for emergency respirators by documenting the following:

(a) Inspection date

(b) Serial number of each respirator or other identifying information

(c) Inspector’s name or signature

(d) Inspection findings

(e) Required action, if problems are found.



When documenting inspections you may either:

– Provide the information on a tag or label and attach it to the respirator compartment


– Include the information in an inspection report stored in paper or electronic files accessible to employees.

(4) Repair or replace any respirator that isn’t functioning properly before the employee returns to a situation where respirators are required. If respirators fail inspection or aren’t functioning properly during use due to problems such as leakage, vapor or gas breakthrough, or increased breathing resistance all of the following apply:

(a) Do not permit such respirators to be used until properly repaired or adjusted

(b) Use only NIOSH-certified parts

(c) Make sure repairs and adjustments are made by appropriately trained individuals. Use the manufacturer or a technician trained by the manufacturer to repair or adjust reducing and admission valves, regulators, and warning devices on SCBAs or air-line respirators.

(d) Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications for the type and extent of repairs.

(5) Use Table 9 to determine how often to inspect respirators

Table 9
Required Frequencies for Respirator Inspections
If the respirator is Then inspect
A SCBA in any use Before each use
During cleaning
Monthly if not used
Used for nonemergencies, including day-to-day or infrequent use Inspect before each use
During cleaning
Used only for emergencies Check for proper function before and after each use
Inspect at least monthly as instructed by the manufacturer
Used for escape-only purposes Before carrying into a work place for use


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