Respiratory protection is arguably the most vital, potentially life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE), along with fall protection gear. And protecting your employees against respiratory hazards is challenging. Administering an OSHA-compliant respiratory protection program is a multi-faceted endeavor. The revised standards issued in 1998 – CFR 1910.134 and 29 CFR 1926.103 -- are now 20 years old, and many safety and health practitioners still have issues with it and questions about it.

A respiratory protection program involves writing out a plan with required worksite-specific procedures; the plan must be supervised by a trained program administrator. Gas, fume, mist particulate and other exposures that cannot be controlled by means other than respiratory PPE must be identified; typical applications include confined spaces, welding, and silica, the subject of one of OSHA’s most recent standards. Articles and sponsors cover all these hazards in this ebook.

Your respiratory protection program also includes matching the right respirator for the exposure; using only NIOSH-approved respirators; calculating respirator protection factors; medically evaluating employees who will wear respirators; fit-testing masks to individuals; employee training; setting schedules for cleaning, maintenance, repairs and discarding respirators; and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of your program.

No wonder violations of OSHA’s respiratory protection standard constituted the fourth most-frequently cited agency standard in 2017. Last year there were 3,381 violations. The most common was hazard evaluation, followed by establishing a respiratory protection program, respirator fit testing, having a written plan and qualified administrator, and medical evaluations. This ebook will be a handy compliance guide to navigate the many aspects of respiratory protection, and understanding some of the most common respiratory hazards.

OSHA estimates more than five million workers need respiratory protection in 1.3 million workplaces. Of the 12.7 million people diagnosed with cancer each year, anywhere from 381,000 to 762,000 diagnoses stem from prolonged exposure to workplace carcinogens, according to NIOSH. ISHN is pleased to produce for you this ebook on one of safety and health’s most important topics.

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