U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 07, 2023
The licensee shall use, to the extent practical, process or other engineering controls (e.g., containment, decontamination, or ventilation) to control the concentration of radioactive material in air.
(a) When it is not practical to apply process or other engineering controls to control the concentrations of radioactive material in the air to values below those that define an airborne radioactivity area, the licensee shall, consistent with maintaining the total effective dose equivalent ALARA, increase monitoring and limit intakes by one or more of the following means—
(1) Control of access;
(2) Limitation of exposure times;
(3) Use of respiratory protection equipment; or
(4) Other controls.
(b) If the licensee performs an ALARA analysis to determine whether or not respirators should be used, the licensee may consider safety factors other than radiological factors. The licensee should also consider the impact of respirator use on workers' industrial health and safety.
If the licensee assigns or permits the use of respiratory protection equipment to limit the intake of radioactive material,
(a) The licensee shall use only respiratory protection equipment that is tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) except as otherwise noted in this part.
(b) If the licensee wishes to use equipment that has not been tested or certified by NIOSH, or for which there is no schedule for testing or certification, the licensee shall submit an application to the NRC for authorized use of this equipment except as provided in this part. The application must include evidence that the material and performance characteristics of the equipment are capable of providing the proposed degree of protection under anticipated conditions of use. This must be demonstrated either by licensee testing or on the basis of reliable test information.
(c) The licensee shall implement and maintain a respiratory protection program that includes:
(1) Air sampling sufficient to identify the potential hazard, permit proper equipment selection, and estimate doses;
(2) Surveys and bioassays, as necessary, to evaluate actual intakes;
(3) Testing of respirators for operability (user seal check for face sealing devices and functional check for others) immediately prior to each use;
(4) Written procedures regarding—
(i) Monitoring, including air sampling and bioassays;
(ii) Supervision and training of respirator users;
(iii) Fit testing;
(iv) Respirator selection;
(v) Breathing air quality;
(vi) Inventory and control;
(vii) Storage, issuance, maintenance, repair, testing, and quality assurance of respiratory protection equipment;
(viii) Recordkeeping; and
(ix) Limitations on periods of respirator use and relief from respirator use;
(5) Determination by a physician that the individual user is medically fit to use respiratory protection equipment:
(i) Before the initial fitting of a face sealing respirator;
(ii) Before the first field use of non-face sealing respirators, and
(iii) Either every 12 months thereafter, or periodically at a frequency determined by a physician.
(6) Fit testing, with fit factor ≥10 times the APF for negative pressure devices, and a fit factor ≥500 for any positive pressure, continuous flow, and pressure-demand devices, before the first field use of tight fitting, face-sealing respirators and periodically thereafter at a frequency not to exceed 1 year. Fit testing must be performed with the facepiece operating in the negative pressure mode.
(d) The licensee shall advise each respirator user that the user may leave the area at any time for relief from respirator use in the event of equipment malfunction, physical or psychological distress, procedural or communication failure, significant deterioration of operating conditions, or any other conditions that might require such relief.
(e) The licensee shall also consider limitations appropriate to the type and mode of use. When selecting respiratory devices the licensee shall provide for vision correction, adequate communication, low temperature work environments, and the concurrent use of other safety or radiological protection equipment. The licensee shall use equipment in such a way as not to interfere with the proper operation of the respirator.
(f) Standby rescue persons are required whenever one-piece atmosphere-supplying suits, or any combination of supplied air respiratory protection device and personnel protective equipment are used from which an unaided individual would have difficulty extricating himself or herself. The standby persons must be equipped with respiratory protection devices or other apparatus appropriate for the potential hazards. The standby rescue persons shall observe or otherwise maintain continuous communication with the workers (visual, voice, signal line, telephone, radio, or other suitable means), and be immediately available to assist them in case of a failure of the air supply or for any other reason that requires relief from distress. A sufficient number of standby rescue persons must be immediately available to assist all users of this type of equipment and to provide effective emergency rescue if needed.
(g) Atmosphere-supplying respirators must be supplied with respirable air of grade D quality or better as defined by the Compressed Gas Association in publication G–7.1, “Commodity Specification for Air,” 1997 and included in the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (29 CFR 1910.134(i)(1)(ii)(A) through (E)). Grade D quality air criteria include—
(1) Oxygen content (v/v) of 19.5–23.5%;
(2) Hydrocarbon (condensed) content of 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air or less;
(3) Carbon monoxide (CO) content of 10 ppm or less;
(4) Carbon dioxide content of 1,000 ppm or less; and
(5) Lack of noticeable odor.
(h) The licensee shall ensure that no objects, materials or substances, such as facial hair, or any conditions that interfere with the face—facepiece seal or valve function, and that are under the control of the respirator wearer, are present between the skin of the wearer's face and the sealing surface of a tight-fitting respirator facepiece.
(i) In estimating the dose to individuals from intake of airborne radioactive materials, the concentration of radioactive material in the air that is inhaled when respirators are worn is initially assumed to be the ambient concentration in air without respiratory protection, divided by the assigned protection factor. If the dose is later found to be greater than the estimated dose, the corrected value must be used. If the dose is later found to be less than the estimated dose, the corrected value may be used.
The Commission may impose restrictions in addition to the provisions of §§ 20.1702, 20.1703, and Appendix A to Part 20, in order to:
(a) Ensure that the respiratory protection program of the licensee is adequate to limit doses to individuals from intakes of airborne radioactive materials consistent with maintaining total effective dose equivalent ALARA; and
(b) Limit the extent to which a licensee may use respiratory protection equipment instead of process or other engineering controls.
The licensee shall obtain authorization from the Commission before using assigned protection factors in excess of those specified in Appendix A to part 20. The Commission may authorize a licensee to use higher assigned protection factors on receipt of an application that—
(a) Describes the situation for which a need exists for higher protection factors; and
(b) Demonstrates that the respiratory protection equipment provides these higher protection factors under the proposed conditions of use.