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.

September 1, 1992

Mr. John P. Hale
Respirator Support Services
2028 Virts Lane
Jefferson, Maryland 21755

Dear Mr. Hale:

This is a final response to your letter of April 30 concerning the State of South Carolina's regulatory procedures for single-use respirators. Please accept our apology for the delay in this response.

You have noted that in its Information Memorandum 86-X-71 dated July 19, 1986, the State relates that a qualitative or quantitative fit test is not required for single-use respirators. You wish to know if this interpretation is in agreement with the Federal interpretation and, if not, what can be done to correct the discrepancy.

The State's interpretation differs from the Federal interpretation in that we require that a qualitative or quantitative fit test be done when first selecting a single-use respirator for an employee. Also, the Federal and State positions differ with respect to [29 CFR 1910.134(h)(1)(i-iv)], covering the cleaning and disinfecting of respirators, and [29 CFR 1910.134(h)], covering the maintenance and care of respirators. The State's information memorandum states that these portions of the standard do not apply to single-use respirators, whereas the Federal position is that they do apply since there is no limit on the number of times that a single-use respirator may be worn.

State regulation of health and safety hazards must be at least as effective as Federal regulation of the hazards. Thus, prompted by your letter, we contacted William M. Lybrand, Director, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, South Carolina Department of Labor. We discussed Information Memorandum 86-X-71 with him and informed him of the Federal enforcement procedures. Sough Carolina is reviewing the Federal procedures and will be taking appropriate action.

If you require additional information, please contact the State of South Carolina. The address and phone number are:

Virgil W. Duffie, Jr., Commissioner
South Carolina Department of Labor
3600 Forest Drive
Post Office Box 11329
Columbia, South Carolina 29211-1329
Telephone: (803) 734-9594

We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Sincerely,

Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs