Respirators had been used by employees in about 10 percent of the private industry workplaces surveyed in late 2001. In nearly half of these 619,400 establishments where respirators were used, they were used by employees on a voluntary basis only, and, in about 12 percent, they were used only when required because of emergencies.
Workers should use respirators for protection from contaminants in the air only if other hazard control methods are not practical or possible under the circumstances. Respirators should not be the first choice for respiratory protection in workplaces. They should only be used: