OSHA allows use of respirators certified to other countries’ standards

Due to the shortage of N95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA says it will allow the use of respirators certified to other countries’ standards.

Posted April 8, 2020

Due to the shortage of N95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA says it will allow the use of respirators certified to other countries’ standards. On April 6, the Agency issued interim guidance to its Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) outlining enforcement discretion to permit the use of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and air-purifying elastomeric respirators that are either:

  • Certified under certain standards of other countries or jurisdictions:
    • Australia: AS/NZS 1716:2012
    • Brazil: ABNT/NBR 13694:1996; ABNT/NBR 13697:1996; and ABNT/NBR 13698:2011
    • People’s Republic of China: GB 2626-2006; and GB 2626-2019
    • European Union: EN 140-1999; EN 143-2000; and EN 149-2001
    • Japan: JMHLW-2000
    • Republic of Korea: KMOEL-2014-46; and KMOEL-2017-64
    • Mexico: NOM-116-2009

or

  • Previously certified under the standards of other countries or jurisdictions but beyond the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life (i.e., expired).

The guidance applies to all industries, including workplaces in which:

  • Healthcare personnel are exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and other sources of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Protection of workers exposed to other respiratory hazards is impacted by the shortage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance takes effect immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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