Respirators must be used in workplaces where employees may be exposed to hazardous airborne contaminants. When respiratory protection is required employers must have a respirator protection program as specified in OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Before wearing a respirator, workers must first be medically evaluated using the mandatory medical questionnaire or an equivalent method.
Medical Evaluation and Questionnaire Requirements
The requirements of the medical evaluation and for using the questionnaire are:
- The employer must identify a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform all medical evaluations using the medical questionnaire in OSHA’s Appendix C of the Respiratory Protection standard or a medical examination that obtains the same information. See the tool below.
- The medical evaluation must obtain the information requested in Sections 1 and 2, Part A of Appendix C. the questions in Part B of Appendix C may be added at the discretion of the health care professional.
- The employer must ensure that a follow-up medical examination is provided for any employee who gives a positive response to any question among questions 1 through 8 in Part A Section 2 of Appendix C or whose initial medical examination demonstrates the need for a follow-up medication examination. The employer must provide the employee with an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire and examination results with the PLHCP.
- The medical questionnaire and examinations must be administered confidentially, during the employee’s normal working hours or at a time and place convenient to the employee and in a manner that ensures that he or she understands its content. The employer must not review the employee’s responses, and the questionnaire must be provided directly to the PLHCP.
So, lots of words but very important. OSHA has begun visiting centers to investigate complaints of unsafe working conditions. Recent information from experts in the healthcare setting indicate that COVID-19 may indeed be airborne, especially when aerosol generating procedures are being performed. It is important that you adhere to the OSHA guidelines, provide medical evaluations prior to FIT testing employees for respirators and maintain the documentation confidentially. Appendix C and the evaluation questionnaire can be accessed at the link below.
Stay well, stay safe and stay tuned!