UCL logo

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

Why wear RPE - Although ventilation and good working practices will control the amount of allergen you are exposed to, there may still be potential for exposure. So you may need to wear properly fitted, appropriate RPE too.

BUT it may not be required in certain circumstances as follows:

  • In BSUs where all animals are housed in individually ventilated cages (IVCs) and all procedures are carried out using local exhaust ventilation (LEV) - you will be informed of local arrangements when you enter specific units.
  • In registered rooms where all work takes place using LEV or else appropriate measures are in place to control the amount of airborne allergen and/or direct contact with allergen (see Guidance by example)

If your work does not fall into these categories, then RPE must be worn.

What type of RPE - Most people will be able to use a disposable dust respirator mask with appropriate filtering efficiency. If this type of mask is not suitable (following a face fit test) eg because of face size/shape or facial hair, a powered airstream helmet/visor must be used.

Using RPE - Whatever RPE you use, you will be shown how to wear and fit on a day-to-day basis and how it should be disposed of or cleaned. You should only remove your RPE after other protective clothing to control exposure to allergens. 

Fit testing - The performance of tight-fitting face pieces depends on achieving a good contact between the wearer’s skin and the face seal of the face piece. As people come in all shapes and sizes it is unlikely that one particular type, or size of RPE face piece will be suitable for all users. Anyone using tight fitting RPE must be face fit tested to make sure that they have a mask that provides protection. UCL provides a fit testing service which can be booked via the Single Training Booking System.



University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 2000 - Copyright © 1999-2015 UCL

Search by Google