Frequently Asked Questions:
What standard requires this evaluation, and where can I read more?
The exact standard is 29 CFR 1910.134(e):
"Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees that varies with the type of respirator worn, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is used, and the medical status of the employee. Accordingly, this paragraph specifies the minimum requirements for medical evaluation that employers must implement to determine the employee's ability to use a respirator."
"The employer shall provide a medical evaluation to determine the employee's ability to use a respirator, before the employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace. The employer may discontinue an employee's medical evaluations when the employee is no longer required to use a respirator."
When is respirator use applicable?
Respirators should be used for protection only when engineering controls have been shown to be infeasible for the control of the hazard or during the interim period when engineering controls are being installed. When used appropriately, respirators are there to protect individuals from breathing contaminated air. Some respirators (e.g. self contained breathing apparatus) will additionally supplybreathing air in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.
What is needed to complete the annual respirator fit-test?
A medical clearance is required for initial participation in the respiratory protection program. A follow-up annual fit testing session includes use practice discussion in addition to a refit. If make and size changes, it will be noted on the fit test form and then a medical questionnaire will additionally be required.
Where and who provides medical clearance?
Medical clearance is provided by OHS Health and Safety Services (1-800-456-4647). A physician or other licensed health care professional operating within the scope of his/her practice will medically evaluate individual responses to determine under what conditions they can safely wear respirators.
What should be done if an individual has medical conditions which change after initial clearance?
If there is a change in medical conditions that affects wearing a respirator, or if an individual develops difficulties in wearing a respirator, the supervisor should be notified and a medical re-evaluation must be performed.