Pandemic Influenza Respirator Guide

This guide provides the basic procedures necessary to develop a respirator program for protection from a Pandemic Influenza Outbreak. The guide is designed for disposable particulate respirator use, which is the commonly recommended respirator type for a pandemic influenza outbreak.  Contact EHS for guidance on the use of other respirators for pandemic influenza.

Designation of Respirator Program Administrator

A person designated by department management that understands when a pandemic influenza respirator is necessary must determine if they will be needed in the department in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak.  If it is determined respirators will be necessary, someone from the department will have to be designated as the Respirator Program Administrator.  This Respirator Program Administrator will be required to develop and maintain the department’s Pandemic Influenza Respirator Program. Refer to the Pandemic Respirator Program Template for additional information.

Determination of Employees Performing Essential Functions Needing Respiratory Protection

  1. 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). 
     
  2. 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).  
     
  3. 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.

Initial Respirator Program Development

Initial development or the respirator program must be completed now rather than waiting for an outbreak to become likely.  

  1. Written Respirator Program – A written program that describes how the department respirator program for pandemic influenza virus is designed and operates must be developed. See the Pandemic Respirator Program Template at www. uiowa.edu/~EHS/ for guidance. 
  2. Medical Evaluation – For assistance with initial medical evaluations see Section 5 of Pandemic Respirator Program Template and/or Medical evaluation section of Pandemic Influenza Dust Mask Online Training
  3. Training – For assistance with initial respirator training program see Section 9 of Pandemic Respirator Program Template and/or Pandemic Influenza Dust Mask Online Training.
  4. Fit Testing – For assistance with initial fit testing see Section 6 of Pandemic Respirator Program Template, Qualitative Fit Testing Procedure document and/or Fit testing.
  5. Supplies – The respirators and related supplies to support the department respirator program will need to be purchased and stored.  See Section 12 Resources and Assistance of Pandemic Respirator Program.
  6. Records – For recordkeeping requirements see Section 10 of Pandemic Respirator Program.

Respirator Program Activation

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

  1. Medical Evaluation – For assistance with medical evaluations see Section 5 of Pandemic Respirator Program Template and/or Medical evaluation section of Pandemic Respirator Online Training
  2. Training – For assistance with respirator training program see Section 9 of Pandemic Respirator Program Template and/or Pandemic Respirator Online Training
  3. Fit Testing – For assistance with fit testing see Section 6 of Pandemic Respirator Program Template and/or Fit testing section of Pandemic Respirator Online Training.

Appendix

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.