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Summary of COVID-19 Respiratory Protection Changes

Respiratory Protection

  1. OSHA has advised employers to reduce work that requires respiratory protection due to the shortage of respirators in the medical field (All employers should reassess their engineering controls, work practices, and administrative controls to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95 FFRs.) - link

  2. OSHA is allowing the extended use of out-of-date respirators, the reuse of respirators, and the use of foreign respirators due to the shortages (In the event extended use or reuse of N95 FFRs becomes necessary, the same worker is permitted to extend use of or reuse the respirator, as long as the respirator maintains its structural and functional integrity and the filter material is not physically damaged, soiled, or contaminated) - link

  3. If modifications are made to your respiratory protection program, you must retrain (for example, if reusing N95 masks, employees must be trained on how to differentiate between masks suitable for reuse and those not suitable for reuse.) - link

  4. OSHA has advised their consultants to use their discretion when determining whether a respiratory protection violation has occurred considering the current shortages.

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