Monday, March 2, 2015

Four Little Words Too Many Employers Overlook

Objective information or data”.  At first glance, these four little words plucked from a passage in the middle of OSHA’s respiratory protection standard are easy to overlook or misinterpret. But any employer who fails to carefully read and understand what is required to comply with 1910.134(d)(3)(iii)(B)(2) will not only be setting themselves up for an OSHA citation with a hefty penalty, they might also be putting the health and safety of their workers at risk!
This section of the Federal OSHA respiratory protection standard applies when there is . . .

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  1. Great information, I suspect that casual respirator user may often overlook the need to identify the limits of the face-piece and the cartridges used to filter the contaminates. I also believe this information is omitted by most of the sales force. Thanks for sharing. David F.

  2. Good information for employers & workers requiring air-purifying respirators at their workplace. Thanks for sharing! - Tony

  3. Challenging indeed. Just looking at the diversity of worker health/wellness provides a significant challenge to define something as simple as work effort for a particular task. The average age of utility workers is low end 50s with health spectrum ranging from that of a 20 yr old to geriatric. Seems like a lot of assumptions have to be made to generate a subjective change-out schedule. Something better than taste/smell is needed but easier said than done. - David H.

    1. David. The health of the worker is actually addressed in the medical evaluation. The assumption is the worker must first be found to be physically fit to wear their respirator while performing their work, as information about the equipment used and the work level is part of the info required to be provided to the physician or licensed healthcare professional (PLHCP). Therefore health should not be the concern here.

      An estimate of work effort associated with a task for the medical clearance as well as for the cartridge change-out schedule formulas can be estimated using guidance of the respirator cartridge manufacturers (and other guidance documents) available for developing your change-out schedule. Not saying this is easy, but of we did our job for the medical clearance, then estimating work effort for cartridge change-out should not be an issue.

    2. True. The volume of air consumed by a 50 year old vs. 20 yr old for the same task is significantly different. It's a tough nut to crack - agreed. We won't even start to get into process control and homogeneous mixtures of contaminants in an outdoor environment. A well thought out approach is definitely the intent - a one-size-fits-all may not be protective enough and an individual prescription is unrealistic. Definitely a thought-provoking article! David.

  4. When using the manufacturer models pay attention to the fine print. Some manufacturers provide operating temperature ranges for their models and others do not. During winter and summer months it is possible to be outside the temperature range of the model if you are working outdoors.

    No problem is so difficult that when properly studied it doesn't become even more difficult.


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