OLD SCHOOL WAY OF FIT TESTING
RESPIRATORS IN THE WORKPLACE
RESPIRATORS FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION FOR DUST
NEW SCHOOL WAY TO FIT TEST
RESPIRATORS IN CONSTRUCTION
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION FROM SILICA
When health hazards requiring respiratory protection are present in the work environment, the employer has the responsibility of developing an effective respirator program. The employer must provide respirators that protect their employees’ lives and health, and make sure the employees use the equipment properly. OSHA has set forth four requirements for a respiratory protection program.
1.The employer shall establish a written program with worksite specific procedures that are updated as necessary.
2.Certain procedures must be followed for voluntary use of respirators in nonhazardous atmospheres.
3.The program must be administrated by a trained program administrator.
4.Respirator training, and medical evaluations must be provided at no cost to the employee. Details of specific program elements follow:
•Procedures for selecting, and providing at no cost to the employee,NIOSH approved respirators based on an assessment of present and probable hazards, either measured or estimated.
•A medical evaluation of every employee who will be required to wear a respirator, as well as those wearing respirators for comfort reasons in a non-hazardous atmosphere. This is required before the employee is fit tested or allowed to wear a respirator. The evaluation must be administered at no cost to the employee by a physician or other licensed health care professional, and must use a questionnaire mandated by OSHA or a medical exam, which provides the same information. A follow-up medical exam, also at no cost to the employee,must be provided for any employee who gives a positive response to any of the questions 1-8 in section 2 of the OSHA medical questionnaire.
•Mandatory pre-use annual fit testing of all tight-fitting respirators including supplied air respirators, all of which must be fit tested in a negative pressure mode. Qualitative and quantitative fit test protocols are included in the new rules as mandatory in appendix A.
•Procedures for proper respirator use in routine and foreseeable emergency operations.
•Procedures and schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, discarding and maintaining respirators.
•Procedures to ensure adequate quantity, flow and quality of breathing air for supplied air respirators, including oxygen content, CO alarms and noninterchangeability of couplings.
•Pre-use and annual training of employees, at no cost to the employees, in the proper use of respirators, including a requirement that the trained employee demonstrate knowledge of at least the following points:
1.Why the respirator is necessary and how improper fit, usage, or maintenance can compromise the protection offered by the respirator;
2.The limitations and capabilities of the respirator;
3.How to use the respirator in emergency situations, including those involving respirator malfunction;
4.How to inspect, put on, remove, use and perform a user seal check;
5. The procedures for maintenance and storage of the respirator;