Respiratory Protection Program

Preparing to Use a Respirator at the University of Minnesota

Per the University of Minnesota Respiratory Protection Program, respiratory protection is designated by Health, Safety, and Risk Management (HSRM) as either mandatory or voluntary, depending upon an exposure assessment and the hazard level.

Employees that have questions about hazard evaluation and determination of the need for respiratory protection can e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Personal use of a mask or respirators for protection against the common cold, flu, or COVID-19 are not covered under the Respiratory Protection Program and do not require approval by HSRM. Employees are encouraged to stay home if they are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms.

Voluntary vs. Mandatory Respirator Use Requirements

Voluntary use of an N95 respirator requires approval by HSRM. Voluntary use of any other respirators is not permitted. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Respirator Protection DesignationVoluntaryMandatory
Type of Respirator

N95 respirator

Requires approval by HSRM Industrial Hygienist; contact [email protected] for more information

Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)

Supplied Air Respirator (Loose fitting)

N95 respirator

Elastomeric negative pressure respirator

Supplied Air Respirator (Tight fitting)


Respirator Medical EvaluationNoYes; complete every 2-5 years, depending on programYes; complete every 2-5 years, depending on program
Respirator Online Training

Voluntary Use Respiratory Protection Training (UHS516)

Complete once

Respiratory Protection (UHS514) 

Complete annually

Respiratory Protection (UHS514) 

Complete annually

Contact [email protected] if your department requires in-person training.

Respirator Fit TestingNoNo


Complete annually


Completing the Respiratory Protection Program Requirements

Most employees are enrolled in the Respiratory Protection Program by their supervisor or a program administrator. 

Employees can log in to the Occupational Health Portal to see their enrollment status. Employees can also instead proceed to the link in the “Enrollment and Respiratory Medical Evaluation” dropdown below for enrollment status, as well as access to the Respiratory Medical Evaluation.

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Respiratory Medical Evaluation

Enrollment in the UMN Respiratory Protection Program is required in part so that employees receive automated reminders by email when they are due to complete their requirements. These reminders will come from “donotreply@".

The Respiratory Medical Evaluation is the first requirement that employees must complete in order to be cleared to use a respirator at the University of Minnesota. Depending on your job responsibilities, employees are required to complete this survey every 2-5 years.

The following survey was developed to assist employees in determining whether they are 1) enrolled in the respiratory protection program, and 2) due to complete the respiratory medical evaluation, and 3) if the employee is due, provide access to the evaluation.

Respiratory Protection Requirement Survey

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Respirator Online Training

There are two online respirator training courses. Visit the HSRM Training page for registration information and instructions. 

Respiratory Protection (UHS514)

This course is required for anyone who is required to wear any type of respirator, including N-95 filtering facepieces, for any reason, regardless of duration or frequency of use. This training is required annually.

Voluntary Use Respiratory Protection (UHS516)

This course is required for anyone using filtering face-piece respirators (N-95) voluntarily for an additional level of comfort and protection. This is a one-time course.

Respirator Fit Testing

When a respirator fit test is required, the Respiratory Medical Evaluation and the Training must be completed prior to the fit test. All respirators must be NIOSH-approved.

Twin Cities Campus

N95 respirators: Visit the Clinical Services web page to schedule an appointment with HealthPartners Occupational Medicine. 

All other types of respirators (non N95s) will be completed by Health, Safety, and Risk Management on campus. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Duluth Campus

Contact Andy Kimball ([email protected]).

All other Campuses

Visit the Clinical Services web page for more information and locations.

For questions, contact BOHD at [email protected] or (612) 626-5008.

Related Information

Looking for information on respiratory protection for lab animals? Visit the Allergen Exposure Control Program page to download the Laboratory Animal Allergens and Related Respiratory Protection document.