- 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.
|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.|
October 16, 1998
Mr. Everett A. Beaujon
Director Safety and Health
Austin Industrial Inc.
P.O. Box 87888
Houston, TX 77287-7888
Dear Mr. Beaujon:
This is in response to your letter of May 14, addressed to Mr. Raymond Skinner in the Houston South Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter requested a review of the medical evaluation portion of your company's respiratory protection program to determine compliance with OSHA's new Respiratory Protection Standard, 29 CFR 1910.134. We apologize for the long delay in formulating this response.
In your letter, you mentioned that medical technicians conduct the medical evaluations under the direction of a designated licensed occupational physician. The medical technicians conduct and evaluate the occupational history questionnaire, a physical exam, and a pulmonary function test. As described in your letter, the physician performs a further medical evaluation when an employee fails the initial medical evaluation. Further, the physician reviews the medical program periodically.
The new Respiratory Protection Standard states that, "The employer shall identify a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform medical evaluations using a medical questionnaire or an initial medical examination that obtains the same information as the medical questionnaire." The term PLHCP "means an individual whose legally permitted scope of practice (i.e., license, registration, or certification) allows him or her to independently provide, or be delegated the responsibility to provide some or all of the health care services required by paragraph (e) of this section." Since the medical technicians are operating under the direction of the company physician, he or she should be able to obtain this information for you.
From the information that you provided, it is unclear that the medical technicians that you described are able to conduct and evaluate the medical evaluations. Your letter does not indicate that the medical technicians are certified and if the State of Texas defines the scope of practice for Certified Medical Technicians as being able to perform this type of work. You may wish to contact the Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Management for information on the scope of practice for medical technicians. You can reach this agency at:
[Bureau of Emergency Management
Texas Department of Health
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199
Phone: (512) 834-6740
Fax: (512) 834-6736]
Please note that on August 3, 1998, OSHA published Questions and Answers on the Respiratory Protection Standard. This 79-page document contains guidance on respiratory protection. The section on medical evaluations and the attachments may be particularly helpful in developing a respiratory protection program. This can be found on the Internet at the OSHA Home Page at http://www.osha.gov.
Thank you for your interest in safety and health issues. Should you require any additional information on this matter, please, feel free to contact our [Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].
Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Compliance Programs
[Corrected April 1, 2009]