Safety

OSHA shortens fit-testing procedure

OSHA Healthcare Connection, January 9, 2008

In a December 26, 2007 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, OSHA announced the addition of a new procedure for fit-testing respirators, the Abbreviated Bitrex Qualitative Fit-Testing protocol.

"This proposed rule will add a new fit-test method that has shorter exercise duration than the current methods," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "This method will give employers additional flexibility in selecting procedures for conducting fit-testing."

OSHA's respiratory protection standard requires fit-testing with initial and annual training, with a change in respirator selection, and when the facial characteristics of the worker change. This applies to the disposable N95 respirator, a common means of protection in healthcare environments.

Editor's note: For more information on N95 respirator safety training, see HCPro's Respirator Safety for Healthcare Workers: Prevent Exposure to Airborne Infections.

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