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.

November 11, 1998

Ms. Hillary Georgopoulos
65 Second Avenue
Rosebud, Victoria 3939
Australia

Dear Ms. Georgopoulos:

This is in response to your letter dated September 30. You have requested advice on the use of eye protection and respiratory protection in your studio where you produce glass beads.

The general provisions for selecting any personal protective equipment are based on an assessment of the hazards. For example, selecting eye protection depends on whether or not the hazard is flying particles, or radiation. In the first instance, impact resistant eye protection is appropriate and in the second instance, a shaded face shield is the right choice. The same holds true for the selection of a respirator. The employer is required to assess the exposures in the workplace (by way of personnel air sampling, or mathematical modeling, or some other means) to determine what hazardous exposure exist, what the exposures levels are, and what level of respiratory protection is necessary. All of the unique conditions at the site must be considered, i.e., existing ventilation controls, work practices, and duration of exposure, just to name a few.

I've enclosed a copy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Eye and Face Protection standard (CFR 1910.133) and the Respiratory Protection standard (CFR 1910.134). For your future reference, these and all other OSHA - related materials can be downloaded from OSHA's Internet website located at www.osha.gov. It is further suggested that you obtain the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) on all the materials that you work with and speak to the manufacturers to obtain their specific recommendations for eye and respiratory protection.

Thank you for your interest in safety and health.

Sincerely,

Richard E. Fairfax
Acting Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs