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Written Program

 

3M Centre for Respiratory Protection

Keys to Keeping a Written Program

A documented respiratory protection program is a core component of ensuring safety in your workplace. Not only is it required by the AS/NZS 1715, it’s valuable to employers because:
 

  • Safe Work inspectors may use it to confirm that all parts of your program are up to par.
  • Supervisors and workers can refer to the policies and procedures contained in it, so they know their responsibilities.
  • It’s a single resource for keeping records of past training and testing so you know what needs updating and when.
  • May assist in reducing ACC levies.

So as an employer, how do you put together a written respiratory protection program and keep it current?

First, describe the general policies the workplace follows to comply with AS/NZS 1715 standards, including everyone’s responsibilities, from management to employees. Then provide the specific procedures for the various parts of the safety program, including:
 

  • Exposure assessment. The methods used to determine what hazards are present and if the levels are unacceptable, i.e. require respiratory protection.
  • Respirator selection. The information used to select respirators.
  • Medical evaluation. Copies of the evaluation and questionnaires used.
  • Fit testing. A description of the procedures used, as well as records of fit tests performed.
  • Respirator training. The documentation used when training new employees and performing annual training for the entire workforce.
  • Respirator maintenance. Detailed procedures for inspecting and cleaning respirators, and the schedule used for cartridge changes.
  • Program evaluation. The criteria used to audit the program at least annually, and a summary of findings.

Every time an aspect of the program is implemented or updated, keep a record of each test and assessment performed, and copies of the procedures and information used to determine what was required.

Review the entire documented program at least once a year to make sure everything is up to date, and add a record of the review.

Documentation

Example of Program Checklist

  • Checklist

    Use this checklist as a guide to help you formulate a documented respiratory program.

    For a more detailed guide refer to the AS/NZS 1715 standards.


See the next step in your journey to optimising your respiratory protection program.

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