University of Iowa

Pandemic Influenza Respirator Guide

This guide provides the basic procedures necessary to develop a respirator program for protection from a Pandemic Influenza Outbreak.

Respirator Program Activation

When a pandemic outbreak becomes likely, the required respirator program must be updated and implemented. This includes:

  • Updating the written program with new required use and employees
  • If the department does not have a required respirator program it will need to create one
  • Having employees complete a medical evaluation
  • Having employees complete the correct training
  • Completing fit test on all employees
  • Ordering respirators

Determination of Employees Performing Essential Functions Needing Respiratory Protection

  • Essential Function Determination First, the essential functions performed by the department must be identified.  University essential functions are University operations that are absolutely essential to the continuation of core university operations during a multi-week pandemic influenza outbreak when classes and most other university activities are suspended (see Appendix for essential function examples).
  • Employees Performing Essential Functions Next identify all employees who perform work necessary for the continued operation of department performed essential functions as determined above (see Appendix for employee examples). 
  • Employees Needing Respiratory Protection Finally a limited number of employees that perform essential functions at the University will have to perform their work in locations that do not permit the use of normal protective measures to avoid airborne pandemic influenza virus exposure (see Appendix for examples of positions with potential airborne pandemic influenza exposure).  These individuals and their backups will be required to be included in a pandemic influenza respirator program.
  • University Essential Functions
    • Direct patient care or the welfare or safety of students, faculty or staff.
    • Maintenance or operation of University systems or networks critical to the ability to meet essential patient, student, and employee needs during a pandemic influenza outbreak.
    • Maintenance and operation of University infrastructure systems critical to the ability to meet essential patient, student, and employee needs during a pandemic influenza outbreak.
    • Duties are essential to avoid jeopardy to critical university-sponsored research activities
  • Personnel Positions Likely to Perform Essential Functions
    • Doctors
    • Nurses
    • Clinic receptionists
    • Public safety officers
    • Environmental, health, and safety staff
    • Staff providing support to UIHC
    • Payroll and purchasing staff
    • Network administrators for critical functions
    • Computer support for critical information systems
    • HVAC technicians working on air handling systems or patient care facilities
    • Utility operations
    • Energy services staff
    • Employees involved in lab animal care, veterinary services
    • Employees involved in clinical trials where failure to continue the trail would involve increased health risk to the research subjects.
  • Personnel Positions with Potential Airborne Pandemic Influenza Exposure
    • Activity that requires working near a known or suspected pandemic influenza patient.
    • Activity that requires working in a high population density work environment.
    • Activity that requires working in an environment where social distancing is not possible.  


Pandemic Influenza Dust Mask - W451OS

  • EHS Respirator Training course or equivalent is required prior to initial use of respirator for pandemic influenza protection and then annually for duration of pandemic events.
  • Audience: University employees required to wear this type of air purifying respirator at work for protection from airborne exposure to the influenza virus during a pandemic outbreak.

For further training and registration information, go to EHS Safety Training.


Respirator Written Program 


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