OSHA Issues Additional Respirator Guidance for Healthcare

Last week, the Department of Labor released additional interim enforcement guidance on reusing disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators that have been decontaminated.

OSHA has released a number of interim guidances for a number of industries—but among those most important have been the guidelines for healthcare workers dealing with suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients. OSHA’s latest interim guidance for healthcare workers, released on April 24, addresses reusing disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95 FFRs) that have been decontaminated.

The guidance applies to workplaces where workers need respirators to protect against exposure to infectious agents that could be inhaled into the respiratory system, including during care of patients with suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus and other activities that could result in exposure to the virus.

The new release notes that the following methods should be followed if respiratory protection must be used and acceptable alternatives are not available (in accordance with OSHA's coronavirus related enforcement memoranda). The following methods are based on NIOSH research:

  • Vaporous hydrogen peroxide
  • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation; and/or
  • Moist heat (i.e., using an oven)
  • If the methods above are not available, microwave-generated steam or liquid hydrogen peroxide could also be suitable

The following methods are not considered acceptable unless objective data that sufficiently demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of such methods become available:

  • Autoclaving;
  • Dry heat;
  • Isopropyl alcohol;
  • Soap;
  • Dry microwave irradiation;
  • Chlorine bleach;
  • Disinfectant wipes, regardless of impregnation (i.e., chemical saturation); and/or
  • Ethylene oxide.

This interim guidance is effective immediately. However, it is time-limited to the current public health crisis.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2022

    July / August 2022

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Specific PPE is Needed for Entry and Exit
    • HAZARD COMMUNICATION
      Three Quick Steps to Better HazCom Training
    • GAS DETECTION
      Building a Chemical Emergency Toolkit
    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      The Last Line of Defense
    View This Issue