New OSHA requirements for fit-testing respirators is causing problems in hospitals, according a new survey from the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN). The group polled occupational and environmental health nurses (OHNs) and infection control professionals in hospital settings to gain information about compliance practices.

According to the survey, 69 percent of respondents reported a high level of difficulty complying with the new OSHA requirement. Of these, a majority (75 percent) work in non-government, not-for-profit hospitals, are responsible for fit-testing between 500 and 5,000 individuals (61 percent), and have an employee health staff of three or smaller (69 percent).

Respirator fit-testing is typically handled internally. Eighty percent of respondents indicated that employee health services, or employee health services in combination with other hospital departments administer their facility’s respirator program. That compares to seven percent who use an outside vendor.