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 University Health and Safety (UHS) 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 UHS. 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 UHS. Voluntary use of any other respirators is not permitted. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Respirator Protection Designation Voluntary Mandatory
Type of Respirator

N95 respirator

Requires approval by UHS Industrial Hygienist; contact [email protected] for more information
Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)

N95 respirator

Elastomeric negative pressure respirator

Supplied Air Respirator


Respirator Medical Evaluation No Yes; complete every 2-5 years, depending on program

Yes; 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 Testing No No


Complete annually


Completing the Respiratory Protection Program Requirements

Review the table above to verify which of the requirements below apply to your respirator use.

Expand all

Respiratory Medical Evaluation

Complete the Respiratory Medical Evaluation Request. You will receive an e-mail from [email protected] with a personalized link to complete an online Respiratory Medical Evaluation.

Instructions for filling out this form can be found by visiting the Respiratory Medical Evaluation Instructions page.

Respirator Online Training

There are two online respirator training courses. Visit the UHS 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 University Health and Safety 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.