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March 15, 2020

OSHA Temporary Enforcement Guidance - Healthcare Respiratory Protection Annual Fit-Testing for N95 During the COVID-19 Outbreak

OSHA recently sent an enforcement guidance memo on March 14 to regional administrators and state designees:

"On March 11, 2020, the President directed the Department of Labor to take all appropriate and necessary steps to increase the availability of general use respirators for emergency use by healthcare personnel in healthcare facilities. In light of the Presidential Memorandum, OSHA is providing this temporary guidance for 29 CFR § 1910.134, regarding required annual fit-testing (paragraph (f)(2)), which is to take effect from the date of this memorandum and remain in effect until further notice."

Key points:

  • Perform initial fit tests for each HCP with the same model, style, and size respirator that the worker will be required to wear for protection against COVID-19 (initial fit testing is essential to determine if the respirator properly fits the worker and is capable of providing the expected level of protection).  
  • Inform workers that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 filtering facepiece respirators to preserve and prioritize the supply of respirators for use in situations where they are required to be worn.
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