The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed two revised fit test procedures under OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard for determining the effectiveness of facemasks. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appears in the Jan. 21 Federal Register (74:3526-3534).
OSHA is proposing to add two PortaCount quantitative fit-testing protocols to its Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134); the proposed protocols would apply to employers in general industry, shipyard employment, and the construction industry. The first of the two proposed protocols consists of the eight fit-testing exercises described in Part I.A.14 of Appendix A of the Respiratory Protection Standard, except each exercise would last 30 seconds instead of the currently required 60 seconds.
The second proposed protocol would eliminate two of the eight fit-testing exercises, and each of the remaining six exercises would last 40 seconds. In addition, this proposed protocol would increase the current minimum pass-fail fit-testing criterion from a fit factor of 100 to 200 for half masks, and from 500 to 1,000 for full facepieces.
Comments regarding the proposal must be submitting by March 23, 2009. Comments must be identified by docket number OSHA-2007-0007 or regulatory information number (RIN) 1218-AC39. For more information, visit the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.