OSHA’s New Fit Testing Protocols
OSHA issued a final rule on September 25, 2019 that adds two new fit testing protocols that can be used by employers when performing employee respirator fit tests. The new protocols are classified as quantitative fit tests, and include:
- Modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators
- Modified ambient aerosol CNC protocol for filtering facepiece respirators
OSHA states that both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration, and a more streamlined sampling sequence. The new protocols are meant to provide additional flexibility to employers that have employees subject to a respiratory protection program. Employers are not obligated to use them and may continue to use any of the four existing fit testing protocols.
All fit testing protocols can be found in the mandatory 29 CFR 1910.134 Appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard.
Contact VBA Compliance Assurance if you need assistance with respiratory protection programs, employee safety, or OSHA compliance.