October 25, 2019 - Holly Foxworth

New OSHA Protocols for Respirator Fit Testing

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.


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.”

Posted in Employee Health Management, Employee Health Medical Management, Occupational Health Management, OSHA, Respirator Testing, Workplace Safety