OSHA Approves Two Additional Procedures for Checking Proper Respirator Fit for Inclusion in the Respiratory Protection Standard

In the September 26, 2019 Federal Register the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved the following two additional quantitative fit testing protocols for inclusion in appendix A of the Respiratory Protection Standard:

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

The purpose of this rule change is to provide alternative procedures for checking proper respirator fit. The additional modified ambient aerosol CNC protocols reduce the total fit test duration, and therefore may reduce the compliance burden for employers that elect to use one of these new procedures. This rule went into effect September 26, 2019.

In July 2014, TSI Incorporated (TSI) submitted an application requesting that OSHA approve three new quantitative fit testing protocols for inclusion in appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard. In the original application, the quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators were submitted and evaluated separately; however, because the protocols were identical OSHA consolidated the Fast-Full and Fast-Half methods into a single protocol.

The original ambient aerosol CNC protocol consists of eight test exercises, performed in the following order: Normal breathing, deep breathing, turning head side-to-side, moving head up-and-down, talking, grimace, bending over, and normal breathing again. The modified ambient aerosol CNC protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators differs as follows: (1) It includes only three of the eight original test exercises (bending over, head side-to-side, and head up-and-down); (2) it adds jogging-in-place as a new exercise; and (3) it reduces the total test duration from 7.2 to 2.5 minutes. The modified ambient aerosol CNC protocol for FFRs differs from the original ambient aerosol CNC protocol as follows: (1) It includes only four of the eight original test exercises (bending over, talking, head side-to-side, and head up-and-down) and (2) it reduces the total test duration from 7.2 to 2.5 minutes.

Both new protocols apply to employers in general industry, shipyard employment, and the construction industry; and, are abbreviated variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol.

Source:

OSHA Final Rule, Additional Ambient Aerosol CNC Quantitative Fit Testing Protocols: Respiratory Protection Standard (Sept. 26, 2019) https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/09/26/2019-20686/additional-ambient-aerosol-cnc-quantitative-fit-testing-protocols-respiratory-protection-standard