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A Quarterly Newsletter
July, 2001
Volume 1, Number 3
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"Value Added..." Justify

OSHA's revised respiratory protection standard,
29 CFR 1910.134
effective April 8, 1998

"14 Minutes per day, per
employee in time lost
calculates into BIG $$$"

The seconds fungi in our
series on Indoor Air Quality...
Toxin Exposure

Medical gas system


The Mission of Compliance OnLine is to Assist Client "Partners" in Reducing Environmental Risk, Protect Facility Assets and the Bottom Line. Our Goal Is to Provide High Quality Regulatory and Compliance Management services Related to Industrial Hygiene, Safety and Building Engineering. At the Same Time, Allow Our Client "Partners" to Confidently Rely on the Experience and Expertise of Our Company's Specialists.

Focusing in on:

Henry J. Muranko, MPH, CIH, CSP

Some Facts about the Revised Respiratory Protection Standard

OSHA's revised respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, became effective on April 8, 1998. The revised standard replaced the original one adopted by OSHA in 1971. The standard applies to all industry sectors covered by OSHA except agriculture (covered by 29 CFR 1928). OSHA's original respiratory protection standard will continue to apply to respirator use for occupational exposure to tuberculosis until the TB standard (proposed in November 1997) is made final.

Under the revised standard, employers are required to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program that includes procedures and key elements. Additionally, the program must be run by an appropriately trained program administrator and updated to reflect changes in workplace conditions and respirator use. The following elements must be included in a respiratory protection program:

  • procedures for selecting respirators;
  • medical evaluations of employees required to wear respirators (to be done before an employee is required to use a respirator in the workplace);
  • fit-testing procedures for tight fitting respirators (8 specific exercises are required for both qualitative and quantitative fit-testing);
  • procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and emergency situations;
  • procedures and schedules for cleaning, disinfecting, storing, inspecting and repairing respirators;
  • procedures to ensure adequate air quality, quantity and flow of breathing air for atmosphere-supplying respirators;
  • training of employees to include respiratory hazards they may be exposed to during routine and emergency situations;
  • training of employees in the proper use of respirators, including donning and removing the respirator, any limitations, maintenance, and repair of their respirator(s); and
  • procedures for periodically evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

OSHA stresses the need for each respiratory protection program to be tailored to the specific conditions of the workplace. This requires the employer to evaluate respiratory hazards, identify relevant workplace and use factors, and base respirator selection on these factors. The new standard also establishes criteria for the voluntary use of a respirator by an employee. This will still require most elements of the program to be in a written plan, except when the choice of voluntary respirator protection are dust masks. Fit-testing is not required for voluntary use.

Other requirements of the new standard include use of only NIOSH-approved respirators, the use of gas and vapor cartridges that have an End of Service Life Indicator (ESLI), and training of persons who conduct fit-testing and oversee the fit-test programs. A revised Assigned Protection Factor table will be added to the final rule at a later date. (APFs are numeral ratings given to different types of respirators to tell users how much protection the respirator can provide.)

Printed copies of the standard can be obtained from your local OSHA office or by accessing OSHA's web site at You can also download the final rule from NIOSH's World Wide Web site at

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