Are your employees wearing N95 filtering facepiece respirators to protect themselves? Please Note: the information in this blog pertains only to N95 filtering facepiece respirators. Other respirator types may follow different requirements.
Many essential businesses remain open during the COVID crisis. Employees may want to wear N95 filtering facepiece respirators in order to protect themselves from potential exposure to the virus. OSHA considers these masks as respirators under their Respiratory protection regulations (29 CFR 1910.134). It is, therefore, important that you understand your obligations as an employer when this situation presents itself.
Any time respirators are used in the work environment OSHA does require a respiratory program. However, the actions you must take depend on whether the respirator is worn voluntarily or whether you require the use of the N95 filtering facepiece mask.
If the use is voluntary by the employee, then at a minimum you should provide a copy of Appendix D to the employee.
If you are requiring the use of the N95 mask, then you must have a written respirator program and following the requirements as contained within 29 CFR 1910.134. OSHA has published a compliance guide to help you establish a program appropriate for your business.
Illinois needs manufacturers who are capable of producing any of the more than 20 critical supplies like N95 masks to fight COVID-19. Let us know if you are able and willing, and we will match you with those in need.
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