- Standard Number:
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
July 14, 1981
Frank J. Niemi, President
Frank Niemi Products, Inc.
3933 W. Ellis Avenue
Gurnee, Illinois 60031
Dear Mr. Niemi:
This is in response to your letter of June 3, 1981, addressed to Mr. John Martonik of my staff, regarding your Cool-View welding helmet.
You relate that one of the helmet's features is that cool, filtered air is blown into it. This feature has ironically led to a reluctance on the part of potential customers to purchase the hood, because they are concerned by the fact that the helmet is not approved as a respiratory by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. You state that your helmet is not a respirator, however, and that you do not try to sell it to replace respirators; neither, you said, do you sell your helmet as a replacement for any system for removing smoke and fumes from the welding area.
You request a clarification as to whether it is permissible to use your Cool-View welding helmet wherever it is acceptable to use a standard welding helmet. There is one requirement that your Cool-View welding helmet must meet, which is not applicable to standard welding helmets. The air blown into it must meet at least the requirements of the specification for Grade D breathing air, as described in Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specification G-7.1-1966. This requirement appears under [29 CFR 1910.134(i)(1)(i-ii)] (copy enclosed) of the standard for respiratory protection.
There are also some requirements that standard welding helmets must meet which your Cool-View welding helmet must also meet. These requirements appear under [29 CFR 1910.252(b)(2)(ii)] (copy enclosed) of the standard for welding, cutting, and brazing.
If the Cool-View welding helmet meets the requirements that I have mentioned, then it is acceptable to use it under any condition where it is acceptable to use a standard welding helmet. That is, the limitations for the Cool-View welding helmet are the same as the limitations for a standard welding helmet. Whenever conditions are such that a respirator would have to be worn underneath a standard welding helmet, then a respirator must be worn underneath a Cool-View welding helmet. By the same token, whenever conditions are such that a respirator would not have to be worn underneath a standard welding helmet, then a respirator does not have to be worn underneath a Cool-View welding helmet. Respirators must be used when an air contaminant concentration just outside the welding helmet exceeds the permissible exposure limit.
I appreciate the opportunity to comment on your concerns. If we can serve you again, we shall be glad to do so.