OSHA Inspections Reinforce Importance of Respiratory Protection Program
Recent OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for failures to implement a written respiratory protection program. Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard is mandatory and could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually. Make sure you are starting the new year off right by staying compliant and informed!
If your workplace requires you to wear a respirator, OSHA and state OSHA agencies state that your employer must select an appropriate respirator for you. We can help you determine if your practice needs to have a plan that can be accessed by filling out our checklist HERE.
Picking the right respirator can be the difference between your employees spreading and contracting COVID-19 or any other airborne illnesses.
There are two categories of respirators: tight-fitting or loose-fitting. Tight-fitting respirators require fit testing to ensure the respirator’s facepiece fits your face. Employees must fit test their respirator before they use the respirator for the first time and then retest every 12 months. With the recent pandemic, OSHA has fined many practices for improper fit testing. Therefore, your practice must ensure it has proper fit-testing protocols and training in place for now and after the pandemic.
There are several factors your employer must consider when choosing the proper respirator for you and your fellow employees. For starters, the employer must evaluate the hazard. The different types and amounts of airborne contaminants at your work may require different types of filters, cartridges, or canisters. Your employer can use this information about the amount and type of contaminant to determine how much protection your respirator must provide you. OSHA assigns a number called an AFP to each respirator, which measures the respiratory protection capability.
To be OSHA compliant employees and employers must also go through respiratory protection training, and worksite specific training.
The easiest way to stay OSHA compliant is to make sure you have created your customized respiratory protection program. We can help you make your customized program on OfficeSafe. Go to OSHA>Documents>Respiratory Protection Standard Plan. Respiratory Protection online training can also be found on the OfficeSafe in our new OfficeSafe University.
Watch this video with your team to start your required Respiratory Protection training.