OSHA Issues Guidance for Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators

OSHA Issues Guidance for Use of Tight-Fitting Respirators

The guidance follows President Donald Trump’s memorandum on making general use respirators available for health care providers.

OSHA issued temporary guidance for enforcing initial and annual fit-testing requirements for tight-fitting powered air-purifying respirators on October 2.

This is the latest effort to ensure that respirators are available as needed for health care workers. It permits the use of NIOSH-approved respirators for protection against coronavirus in the event that annual fit testing isn’t possible because of shortages.

Employers can use alternative respirators that provide protection on the level of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators, such as N99, N100 and other NIOSH-approved respirators. They can be either loose-fitting or tight-fitting.

The new guidelines do not apply to air-purifying respirators that are used by workers with low or medium exposure to coronavirus, for protection against airborne hazards other than coronavirus or are loose-fitting and don’t require fit testing.

Current information about COVID-19 protocols can be found at cdc.gov.

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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