New OSHA poster on proper workplace use of respirators
Posted May 7, 2020
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new poster for employers and workers on how to properly wear and remove a respirator. For workers who use respirators to protect themselves from coronavirus exposure, a properly worn respirator can help reduce the wearer’s risk of viral exposure and help prevent its spread to others.
The poster – in English and Spanish – describes seven steps every worker should follow when putting on and taking off a respirator.
- Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol before putting on and after removing the respirator;
- Inspect the respirator for damage;
- Cover mouth and nose with the respirator and pull strap over the head so that it rests at the back of the head. A second strap should rest at the back of the neck. Use the metal nose clips to mold the respirator to the shape of the nose;
- Adjust the respirator by placing both hands over it and inhaling and exhaling. Readjust the straps if air leaks from the respirator’s edges;
- Avoid touching the respirator while wearing it;
- Remove the respirator by grabbing the strap(s) from behind. Do not touch the front; and
- If the respirator does not need to be reused because of supply shortages, discard it in a closed-bin waste receptacle.
The poster is the latest effort by OSHA to educate and protect America’s workers and employers during the coronavirus pandemic. OSHA has also published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a document aimed at helping workers and employers learn about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic.
This article was written by Ed Zalewski of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.