Proper Respirator Use and Facial Hair

Negative pressure, pressure demand/or positive pressure respirators depend on a tight face-piece-to-face seal to protect the user.

As outlined in our Emergency Guideline: Novel Respiratory Virus/Pandemic Flu Plan, caregivers with conditions that interfere with the face piece seal must not use these respirators.

Conditions that could prevent a proper fit include:

  • Facial hair
  • Absence of normally worn dentures
  • Facial scars
  • Headgear that projects under the face piece seal

If a caregiver wears corrective glasses or goggles, their supervisor must ensure that they are worn in a way that does not interfere with the face-piece-to-face seal on the caregiver. Additionally, patient-facing caregivers must shave facial hair in order to be fit tested. Exceptions will be made for religious reasons.

Prior to entering a work area where respirators are required, caregivers must perform a face piece fit check with their supervisor.

These measures are necessary to protect the safety of our caregivers and patients.