The University of Iowa

Respirators (Required and Voluntary)

Evaluation Process

Before a respirator can be worn, an exposure evaluation must be conducted. To start the process, complete and return the Request for Chemical Exposure Evaluation to the EHS Industrial Hygienist. From there, the Industrial Hygienist will determine the appropriate next steps to determine if the program is voluntary or required. 

Required Respirators

Respirators are required when: (1) exposure to a chemical is above a published exposure level, (2) a medical professional in the University Employee Health Clinic (UEHC) says that the respirator is required to protect the employee’s health, or (3) an operating procedure states that it is required. For a required program, the users must pass a medical evaluation, a training class on the respirator, and a fit test (not required for a lose-fitting PAPR). 

Voluntary Use 

Respirators are considered voluntary when exposures are below published exposure levels. Any respirator besides an SCBA can be worn voluntarily.  All users must complete the appropriate training. In addition to training, employees wearing a tight fitting rubber or silicone mask must receive a medical evaluation from UEHC.

Respirator Medical Clearance Process

The respirator fitness questionnaire is handled through an online system called ReadySet.  Instructions on setting up ReadySet can be found at Getting started with ReadySet.

Employees need to have respirator medical clearance added as a compliance in CQ to trigger the assignment of the respirator questionnaire by UEHC.  If it does not show up after this, you will need to contact employee health by email ( or call them (319-356-3631) and let them know you need the respirator medical clearance questionnaire added to your account.  Once the questionnaire is complete, contact employee health to let them know it needs to be reviewed and to schedule an appointment.

Fit Test 

EHS offers fit tests to employees in required respirator programs on the first Tuesday of the month in the afternoon and on the first Wednesday in the morning. If one of the days is a university holiday the fit test will be offered on the next Tuesday or Wednesday. Appointments for fit testing can be booked here: EHS Fit Test  

Employees who are not part of a required respirator program can contact the UI Occupational Health Clinic, 319-356-3335, to schedule a fit test.  The employee will need to set up a departmental account to bill directly or can self-pay and be reimbursed by their department if their department chooses to pay for it. 

Questions about this topic can be directed here



  • Respirator: Required Use - W553OS
  • Respirator: Voluntary Use - W050OS

For descriptions of each course including who should take them, see the Safety Training Course Guide.


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