OSHA – Temporary Enforcement Guidance

Angie SzumlinskiAnnouncements, News

On October 2, 2020, OSHA released a memorandum providing temporary enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing initial and annual fit-testing requirements of the Respiratory Protection standard. Citation Guidance states:

  • Provided NIOSH-approved tight-fitting PAPRs to protect personnel against SARS-CoV-2 using a high efficiency (HE) particulate cartridge or filter, when initial and/or annual fit-testing is infeasible due to shortages of N95, N99, N100, P95, P99 and P100 respirators and/or fit-testing supplies.
  • Monitored fit-testing supplies and made good faith efforts to obtain fit-testing supplies.
  • Implemented, to the extent feasible, engineering controls, work practices and/or administrative controls that reduce the need for respiratory protection, such as using partitions, restricting access and cohorting patients; and
  • Maintained a fully-compliant RPP, other than fit-testing requirements, including ensuring personnel are informed of new policies and trained on new procedures, ensuring employees receive required medical evaluations, ensuring batteries and filters for PAPRs are well maintained to provide positive pressure throughout the entire shift or procedure and ensuring employees wearing tight-fitting PAPRs maintain neatly trimmed facial hair that does not compromise the seal of the respirator or come between the seating surface of the facepiece and the face and that does not interfere with valve function.

Note: If respirators are required, employers should consider accommodations for religious exercise for those employees who, for instance, have or cannot trim facial hair due to religious belief. Where the above efforts are absent and respiratory protection use is required, or voluntary use is permitted and an employer fails to comply with an applicable medical evaluation, fit-testing, maintenance, care and training requirements, citations under the applicable provision(S) of 29 CFR § 1910.134 and/or other applicable expanded health standards may document these as serious violations.