OSHA is scheduling a hearing on its proposed standard (54 FR 23991,
6/5/89) to modify existing provisions for controlling employee
exposure to toxic substances found in 29 CFR 1910.1000(e), Air
Contaminant Standard, and 1910.134(a)(1), Respiratory Protection
Standard. The hearing will be held at DOL, Washington, D.C.
beginning 5/30/90. Comments must be postmarked by 5/7/90. OSHA
proposed to incorporate flexibility in methods of compliance
requirements by setting forth circumstances under which respirators
may be used due to the general infeasibility of limiting exposure
through implementation of engineering controls. OSHA is interested
in receiving testimony and data on the following: workplace
circumstances, including confined spaces, which would be
appropriately regulated under the proposed standard; utilization of
respirators to control exposure when performing brief, intermittent
tasks, to achieve compliance with short- term exposure limits; cost
effectiveness factors in determining acceptability of one control
method over another; respirator use in lieu of feasible engineering
controls when the employer has submitted a comprehensive written
respirator compliance program; establishing "respirator budgets"
(numbers of days/year or hours/day for employees to wear respirators
in lieu of implementing feasible engineering controls); and
acceptability of allowing employers under any circumstances to
comply with exposure limits by any method they deem advisable.