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DOL Rolls Out New Respirator Fit Protocols

Monday, October 21, 2019

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced in late September a final rule that includes two new fit-testing protocols for ensuring correct respirator fit.

According to OSHA, the protocols cover the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter quantitative fit-testing protocol for both full- and half-mask elastomeric respirators, as well as the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators.

Respirator Protocols

These measures are a variant of the already established and approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol. The primary differences are that the new measures have fewer test exercises, as well as shorter durations for the exercises and a better sampling sequence.

Ed Brown, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced in late September a final rule that includes two new fit testing protocols for ensuring correct respirator fit.

OSHA also emphasized that the new measure will not amount to an additional cost for employers, along with not requiring employers in general industries, shipyard employment and construction to update or replace current fit testing methods.

“In 2006, TSI submitted two additional quantitative fit testing protocols to OSHA for approval and inclusion in appendix A of the Respiratory Protection Standard,” OSHA writes on the Federal Register. “These protocols were modified, abbreviated versions of the original ambient aerosol CNC protocol already approved by OSHA and listed in appendix A.

“OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on Jan. 21, 2009 (74 FR 3526) to include the two protocols in its Respiratory Protection Standard, but later concluded that they were not sufficiently accurate or reliable. OSHA withdrew the proposed rule without prejudice on January 27, 2010 (75 FR 4323), and invited the developers to resubmit the two protocols after addressing the issues of concern listed in the withdrawal notification. In 2014, TSI submitted three new quantitative fit testing protocols for OSHA approval. These three protocols also were modified, abbreviated versions of the original ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but different from the two protocols TSI submitted to OSHA in 2006.”

The final rule was published on Sept. 26 to the Federal Register.

   

Tagged categories: Government; Health & Safety; Health and safety; NA; North America; OSHA; Regulations; Respirators

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