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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 481. Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations
7/5/2020

12VAC5-481-830. Use of Individual Respiratory Protection Equipment.

A. If the licensee assigns or permits the use of respiratory protection equipment to limit the intake of radioactive material:

1. The licensee shall use only respiratory protection equipment that is tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) except as otherwise noted in this part.

2. If the licensee wishes to use equipment that has not been tested or certified by NIOSH, or for which there is no schedule for testing or certification, the licensee shall submit an application to the agency for authorized use of this equipment except as provided in this part. The application shall include evidence that the material and performance characteristics of the equipment are capable of providing the proposed degree of protection under anticipated conditions of use. This shall be demonstrated either by licensee testing or on the basis of reliable test information.

3. The licensee shall implement and maintain a respiratory protection program that includes:

a. Air sampling sufficient to identify the potential hazard, permit proper equipment selection, and estimate doses;

b. Surveys and bioassays, as necessary, to evaluate actual intakes;

c. Testing of respirators for operability (i.e., user seal check for face sealing devices and functional check for others) immediately prior to each use;

d. Written procedures regarding:

(1) Monitoring, including air sampling and bioassays;

(2) Supervision and training of respirator users;

(3) Fit testing;

(4) Respirator selection;

(5) Breathing air quality;

(6) Inventory and control;

(7) Storage, issuance, maintenance, repair, testing, and quality assurance of respiratory protection equipment;

(8) Recordkeeping; and

(9) Limitations on periods of respirator use and relief from respirator use;

e. Determination by a physician that the individual user is medically fit to use respiratory protection equipment at the following stages:

(1) Before the initial fitting of a face sealing respirator;

(2) Before the first field use of non-face sealing respirators, and

(3) Either every 12 months thereafter, or periodically at a frequency determined by a physician; and

f. Fit testing, with fit factor greater than 10 times the assigned protection factor (APF) for negative pressure devices, and a fit factor greater than 500 for any positive pressure, continuous flow, and pressure-demand devices, before the first field use of tight fitting, face-sealing respirators and periodically thereafter at a frequency not to exceed one year. Fit testing shall be performed with the facepiece operating in the negative pressure mode.

4. The licensee shall advise each respirator user that the user may leave the area at any time for relief from respirator use in the event of equipment malfunction, physical or psychological distress, procedural or communication failure, significant deterioration of operating conditions, or any other conditions that might require such relief.

5. The licensee shall also consider limitations appropriate to the type and mode of use. When selecting respiratory devices the licensee shall provide for vision correction, adequate communication, low temperature work environments, and the concurrent use of other safety or radiological protection equipment. The licensee shall use equipment in such a way as not to interfere with the proper operation of the respirator.

6. Standby rescue persons are required whenever one-piece atmosphere-supplying suits, or any combination of supplied air respiratory protection device and personnel protective equipment, are used from which an unaided individual would have difficulty extricating himself. The standby persons shall be equipped with respiratory protection devices or other apparatus appropriate for the potential hazards. The standby rescue persons shall observe or otherwise maintain continuous communication with the workers (e.g., visual, voice, signal line, telephone, radio, or other suitable means), and be immediately available to assist them in case of a failure of the air supply or for any other reason that requires relief from distress. A sufficient number of standby rescue persons shall be immediately available to assist all users of this type of equipment and to provide effective emergency rescue if needed.

7. Atmosphere-supplying respirators shall be supplied with respirable air of grade D quality or better as defined by the Compressed Gas Association in publication G-7.1, "Commodity Specification for Air," 1997, and included in the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (29 CFR 1910.134(i)(1)(ii)(A) through (E). Grade D quality air criteria include:

a. Oxygen content (v/v) of 19.5-23.5%;

b. Hydrocarbon (condensed) content of 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air or less;

c. Carbon monoxide (CO) content of 10 ppm or less;

d. Carbon dioxide content of 1,000 ppm or less; and

e. Lack of noticeable odor.

8. The licensee shall ensure that no objects, materials or substances, such as facial hair, or any conditions that interfere with the face (facepiece seal or valve function) and that are under the control of the respirator wearer, are present between the skin of the wearer's face and the sealing surface of a tight-fitting respirator facepiece.

9. In estimating the dose to individuals from intake of airborne radioactive materials, the concentration of radioactive material in the air that is inhaled when respirators are worn is initially assumed to be the ambient concentration in air without respiratory protection, divided by the assigned protection factor. If the dose is later found to be greater than the estimated dose, the corrected value shall be used. If the dose is later found to be less than the estimated dose, the corrected value may be used.

B. The agency may impose restrictions in addition to the provisions of this section, 12VAC5-481-820, and 12VAC5-481-3680 in order to:

1. Ensure that the respiratory protection program of the licensee is adequate to limit doses to individuals from intakes of airborne radioactive materials consistent with maintaining total effective dose equivalent ALARA; and

2. Limit the extent to which a licensee may use respiratory protection equipment instead of process or other engineering controls.

C. The licensee shall obtain authorization from the agency before using assigned protection factors in excess of those specified in 12VAC5-481-3680. The agency may authorize a licensee to use higher assigned protection factors on receipt of an application that:

1. Describes the situation for which a need exists for higher protection factors; and

2. Demonstrates that the respiratory protection equipment provides these higher protection factors under the proposed conditions of use.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

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