OSHA Proposes Fit-Testing Protocol Rulemaking

OSHA today published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register for a new fit-testing protocol--the Abbreviated Bitrex Qualitative Fit-Testing (ABQLFT) protocol--under Appendix A of the agency's respiratory protection standard. Public comments are being accepted until Feb. 25, 2008.

"This proposed rule will add a new fit-test method that has a shorter exercise duration than the current methods," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "This method will give employers additional flexibility in selecting procedures for conducting fit-testing."

The rule would add the ABQLFT as an alternative to the four existing OSHA-approved qualitative fit-test protocols. The ABQLFT protocol currently listed in the existing OSHA-approved Bitrex fit-test protocol in the respiratory protection standard would shorten the duration for each of the seven fit-test exercises from one minute to 15 seconds.

The proposed protocol would apply to employers in general industry, shipyard employment, and the construction industry.

Comments may be submitted to the federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov, or by sending three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC, 20210. If the written submission is ten pages or less it may be sent through fax to 202-693-1648. All comments must include the docket number OSHA 2007-0006.

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