Use of respirators in the workplace
March 21, 2002
Respirators had been used by employees in about 10 percent of the private industry workplaces surveyed in late 2001.
The term respirator refers to any device designed to provide the wearer with respiratory protection against inhalation of a potentially hazardous atmosphere. Dust masks, full-facepiece respirators, and self-contained breathing apparatuses (where air or oxygen is carried in a tank on the worker's back) are examples of respirators.
In nearly half of the 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.
These data are from a special survey conducted by the BLS Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities Program for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find more information on the use of respirators in workplaces in news release USDL 02-141, "Respirator Use and Practices" (TXT) (PDF).
Definitions of voluntary and required respirator use:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Use of respirators in the workplace on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/mar/wk3/art04.htm (visited July 27, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Women in the workforce before, during, and after the Great Recession
A look at trends and projections in the labor force participation of women from the 1950s to 2024.
Employer-sponsored healthcare coverage across wage groups
A look at the relationship between employee wages and access to, participation in, and costs of employer-sponsored medical, dental, and vision care benefit plans.
Sports and Exercise
A look at participation and time spent in sports and exercise activities.
Women at Work
A look at women's labor force participation and earnings, how women spend their time and money, the nature of fatal work injuries, and labor force projections for the future.