In the UK, the use of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) in the workplace has strict legal regulations under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH, 2002) and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992), enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The majority of the enforceable regulations on RPE usage and fit testing guidance can be found in:

Note – up until April 2019 fit testing regulations were regulated by the OC 282/28, when the INDG 479 replaced it.


The law requires employers to prevent/control the exposure of employees and others to hazardous substances at work.

Employers must carry out a thorough risk assessment to identify any potential hazardous substances before work begins and take action to prevent/control employee exposure.

If RPE is required, an RPE Programme should be put in place, which includes:

  • Documenting potential respiratory hazards
  • Selecting adequate/suitable RPE
  • Informing, training and supervising RPE wearers to ensure compliance
  • Fit testing all staff who wear tight-fitting RPE
  • Keeping records on cleaning, maintenance and storage
  • Safely disposing of damaged or used RPE


In some cases, additional regulations may also apply.

These include:


A plethora of other resources exist which you may find helpful. These include: