Q&A: N95s for all?

OSHA Healthcare Connection, December 1, 2009

Q: We are an ambulatory surgery center. Does every employee need an N95 respirator for protection from H1N1, and must they all be fit tested?

A: For H1N1 protection, OSHA emphasizes a hierarchy of controls, the last of which is respiratory protection.

Working through the hierarchy should reduce the number of staff members who are required to wear an N95 respirator in your facility.

Whenever you require staff to wear respirators, OSHA says you must have a respiratory protection plan, and an OSHA-compliant plan using N95s would include fit testing.

For more details and links on control hierarchy, respiratory plan elements, and fit-tester qualifications, see the “Ask the expert” post on N95s in surgery centers.

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