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We have a plasma table at school and where it is set up ventilation is not as good as the rest of the shop. By the time a longer series of cuts is done it starts to smell pretty funky, I personally don't like the smell but I don't know if it will make you sick.
Sounds like the guy is one of those chronic complainers, you will probably never make him happy unless he's paid to sit back with a beer and do zip all day. If it was me I'd tell him to shave and wear the respirator, or look for a different job seeing as how he is so worried about his health.
I own a cnc plasma table and wrestle with the effects of cutting dust. Plasma dust can be seriously harmful to a number of things. Electronics will die in the presence of said material. It can cause some irritating effects to the sinuses and may create some questionable fumes from cutting mill oils and discharging slag. My table is like yours and uses downdraft vacuum ventilation. My dust collector gets 95% +/- of the particles from cutting. After a good solid day of cutting the air will still show a haze and I can blow a quarter pound of slag dust outta my nose. NOW that being said it is way better than if I was to cut with NO vacuum system. I did this when the table was new. Turned the entire shop BLACK in 1/2 hour. His complaints could be valid to a degree. I would enforce use of a mask OR...put a fairly powerful fan above and behind him to direct the material away from him. That table should be in an area of the shop that can offer a supply of outside fresh air to replenish the air from the dust collector...unless the dust collector is a return style system. I opted for a total evacuation style system and I supply 'new' air from another end of the shop. I simply open one of my roll up doors about 2 inches and clamp with a vice grip on the door rail.
I believe you may need to take a proactive approach here. This guy needs to have a mask. He needs to make the decision to shave and comply with the mask requirement or quit. You as an employer cannot risk the employee going to the doc with a serious case of steel slag particulate accumulation in his lungs and suing you for a lack of proactive approach to safety. Sucks I know ...but it can happen.