OSHA has issued a temporary enforcement guidance for both industrial and healthcare settings, to Compliance Safety and Health Officers for enforcing the Respiratory Protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, with regard to supply shortages of N95 filtering facepiece respirators due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance states the following:
“Inform workers that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 respirators to preserve and prioritize the supply of respirators for use in situations where they are required to be worn.”
This statement applies to annual refit testing of respirators and NOT the initial fit test that must be performed.
Please note that Moldex still recommends that respirators be fit tested if the annual fit test date comes up during this period of temporary suspension.
The guidance also encourages the use of qualitative fit testing rather than quantitative fit testing, since qualitative fit testing is non-destructive and allows the respirator used during the fit test to be subsequently used in the actual work environment where protection is needed.
The complete temporary enforcement guidance can be found at: