OSHA issues interim guidance for respiratory protection during N95 shortage

OSHA has issued interim guidance for respiratory protection during the N95 filtering face piece respirator shortage.

Posted April 6, 2020

OSHA has issued interim guidance for respiratory protection during the N95 filtering face piece respirator shortage. Due to the impact on workplace conditions caused by limited supplies of N95s, OSHA recommends employers reassess their engineering controls, work practices, and administrative controls to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95s.

If respiratory protection must be used, employers may consider use of alternative classes of respirators that provide equal or greater protection compared to an N95, such as NIOSH-approved, non-disposable, elastomeric respirators or powered, air-purifying respirators.

When these alternatives are not available, or where their use creates additional safety or health hazards, OSHA says employers may consider the extended use or reuse of N95s, or use of N95s that were approved but have since passed the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, under specified conditions.

The interim 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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