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New Respirator Fit Testing ProtocolsThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly.

New Protocols

The new protocols include:

  • The modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators.
  • The modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators.

Benefits

Both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved CNC protocol, but have:

  • Fewer test exercises
  • Shorter exercise duration
  • More streamlined sampling sequence

Industries Impacted

Keep in mind, the protocols apply to employers in:

  • General industry
  • Shipyard employment
  • Construction industry

OSHA concludes that the new rule will end up saving employers considerable money in the long run, estimating such savings as more than $4 million per year to regulated entities.

These protocols will serve as alternatives to the four existing quantitative fit testing protocols already listed in Appendix A of the Respiratory Protection Standard. OSHA says that it found that these protocols “will maintain safety and health protections for workers while providing additional flexibility and reducing compliance burdens.”

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