New Respirator Fit Testing Protocols Put in Place

In an effort to better protect workers from airborne contaminants, the U.S. Department of Labor approved a new protocol for new respirator fit testing. Effective today, the rule will hopefully protect workers from airborne contaminants.

Today, OSHA new rule on respirator testing protocols goes into effect: employers now have two new fit testing protocols to abide by in order to protect workers from airborne contaminants. The final rule for the new protocols are variations of the original OSHA ambient aerosol CNC protocol but with a couple modifications.

The new protocols are the modified aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators. Both have elements of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration, and a more streamlined sampling sequence.

The two new methods are additions to the four existing in Appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard, which has mandatory respirator fit-testing protocols that employers must choose from to protect workers from dangerous airborne contaminants. The rule does not apply to employees in the following: general industries, shipyard employment, and construction.

Other employers, however, are expected to update or replace their current methods for respirator fit testing.

To read more about the topic from OSHA’s new release.

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