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 https://www.osha.gov.

December 22, 1983

Robert O. Short
P.O. Box 1612
Salisbury, Maryland 21801

Dear Mr. Short:

This is in response to your inquiry of December 6, 1983, regarding whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.134 paragraph (a)(2) applies to respirators provided for emergency use.

29 CFR 1910.134(a)(2) does apply to respirators provided for emergency use. Emergency type respirators must be in the vicinity for immediate use where there is the possibility of a situation Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH). If there are no potential IDLH situations present then the emergency type respirators you refer to, such as a self contained breathing apparatus, are not required at all. 29 CFR 1910.134(a)(2) also applies to respirators used for other purposes (e.g., when there is no immediate threat to life or health).

In addition, [29 CFR 1910.134(c)(1)], the requirements for a minimal acceptable respirator program, also must be complied with for all respirators and situations where a respirator is required.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If we can be of further assistance, feel free to contact us again.


John B. Miles, Jr.
Directorate of Field Operations