Do you have a respirator protection program that requires mandatory respirator use? If so, be sure you know about OSHA’s new Final Rule that came out on September 26, 2019.
OSHA approved two more quantitative fit testing protocols to be used with condensation nuclei counters (CNCs). The most common CNC is the TSI Portacount, which is what Safex uses for quantitative respirator fit testing.
The new fit testing protocols are much faster, taking slightly more than two minutes per fit test as opposed to nearly eight minutes with the original protocol.
What are the new protocols?
The Fast Half/Full is designed for elastomeric half and full-face respirators and the Fast FFR is designed for disposable filtering facepiece respirators. The exercises in each protocol, as well as the current full fit testing protocol for CNC are listed in the table below.
|Original CNC Protocol||NEW Fast Half/Full||NEW Fast FFR|
|Breathing normally||Bending over||Bending over|
|Deep breathing||Jogging in place||Talking|
|Head side-to-side||Head side-to-side||Head side-to-side|
|Head up-and-down||Head up-and-down||Head up-and-down|
Does my company have to change the way we fit test with CNCs?
The original protocol, and all other existing protocols in Appendix A, may still be used to fit test employees who are required to wear a respirator.
Does this change apply to other fit testing machines?
No, OSHA’s Final Rule only applies to condensation nuclei counter fit testing machines.
Will Safex’s respirator fit testing procedures change?
Our industrial hygiene team is evaluating potential changes. If we do make changes, they will not be effective until early 2020.
***Don’t forget, respirator users must have annual training and respirator fit testing and must undergo regular medical evaluation for their fitness to wear a respirator.