Physician Practice

Review your medical evaluation of staffers who will wear respirators

Medical Environment Update, May 1, 2019

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OSHA is reminding employers that a medical evaluation of each employee is required if that worker needs to ever wear a respirator on the job.

“Respirators can make breathing more difficult and not everyone is able to wear a respirator,” says OSHA information found on its website (see links in Resources). Some conditions can prevent an employee from using a respirator, including “heart conditions, lung disease, and psychological conditions like claustrophobia.”

The medical evaluation, which starts with a mandatory set of questions outlined by OSHA, must occur before the employee uses a respirator or is fit-tested. OSHA has a form for employees to fill out that is available for download online but will accept another form as long as all the questions are answered and given to the physician or other licensed healthcare professional (PLHCP) conducting the evaluation.

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