OSHA approves new respirator fit testing protocols

Final rule effective September 26, 2019

Posted September 30, 2019

OSHA has issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly.

The new protocols are the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators. Both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration, and a more streamlined sampling sequence.

These two quantitative methods add to the four existing in Appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard at 1910.134, which contains mandatory respirator fit-testing protocols that employers must choose from to protect employees from hazardous airborne contaminants.

OSHA says the rule does not require employers in general industries, shipyard employment, and construction to update or replace their current fit testing methods, and does not impose additional costs.

The rule took effect September 26, 2019.

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