OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134) requires employers to ensure that an employee utilizing a tight-fitting facepiece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator and at least annually thereafter. The employer is also responsible for identifying a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform medical evaluations using a medical questionnaire prior to the use of a respirator.
This requirement applies to the following types of NIOSH-certified respirators:
- Air-purifying respirators (APR, half face and full face)
- Filtering facepiece respirator (FFR, commonly N95)
- Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR)
- Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
- Supplied-air respirator (SAR) or airline respirator
Depending on the type of respirator, this requirement can be satisfied through a qualitative fit test (QLFT) or a quantitative fit test (QNFT). A qualitative fit test is a pass/fail method that uses a testing solution such as Bitrex™, isoamyl acetate (“banana oil”), saccharin solution, or irritant smoke (stannic chloride). A quantitative fit test numerically measures the rate of leakage into a respirator giving each respirator an individual fit factor. Quantitative fit testing can be conducted using the TSI PortaCount or OHD Fit Tester.
CSC provides both qualitative and quantitative respirator fit testing services, along with training in the proper use and maintenance of the respirators. We can also help in developing a written respiratory protection program for your company. In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer, the employer shall establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures.
During the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, CSC has been helping large health care providers get all of their employees fit tested to keep them safe while they handle the surge of infected patients.
Whether your business is large or small, we can help you cost-effectively ensure that you and your employees are properly protected. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you!