ISHN

Respiratory protection for TB exposures delayed six months

January 16, 2004
Work sites now required to provide respirators to protect employees from potential exposure to tuberculosis under OSHA's existing respiratory protection standard won't face any potential enforcement actions until July 1, 2004, the agency announced.

Last month, OSHA dropped its 1997 proposed standard on tuberculosis and revoked a separate respiratory protection standard for workers exposed to TB.

Instead of setting a TB rule, OSHA will begin applying the general industry respiratory protection standard for protection against the disease. To meet the requirements of the agency’s respiratory protection standard, newly covered employers will need to revise their respiratory protection program, conduct annual respiratory fit testing, and perform a medical evaluation and annual training for employees using respirators.

The move does not affect work sites already covered under the respiratory protection rule where there is exposure to hazardous substances other than tuberculosis.