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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.
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Trade News Release
Aug. 23, 2006
Contact: Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999


OSHA Revises Respiratory Protection Standards

WASHINGTON -- New Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) for respiratory protection programs are being incorporated into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) respiratory protection standard, the agency announced today.

This APF final rule completes the revision of the reserve sections of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard as published in 1998. The Respiratory Protection Standard will now contain provisions necessary for a comprehensive respiratory protection program, including selection and use of respirators, training, medical evaluation, and fit testing.

"This standard helps employers and employees select the right respirator for the job," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "And with the right respirator employees will have adequate protection to be safe and healthy at work."

APFs are numbers that indicate the level of workplace respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when used as part of an effective respiratory protection program. An APF table is being included in the final standard to guide employers in the selection of air-purifying, powered air-purifying, supplied-air (or airline respirator), and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) respirators. (The table is attached to this release).

Employers must follow these new requirements and use APFs to select the appropriate type of respirator based upon the exposure limit of a contaminant and the level of the contaminant in the workplace. Employers select respirators by comparing the exposure level found in the workplace and the maximum concentration of the contaminant in which a particular type of respirator can be used (the Maximum Use Concentration, or MUC). Employers generally determine the MUC by multiplying the respirator's APF by the contaminant's exposure limit. If the workplace level of the contaminant is expected to exceed the respirator's MUC, the employer must choose a respirator with a higher APF.

OSHA's final respiratory standard on APFs will be published in the Aug. 24, 2006 Federal Register.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


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Assigned Protection Factors5

Type of Respirator1,2 Quarter Mask Half Mask Full Facepiece Helmet/Hood Loose-Fitting Facepiece
1. Air-Purifying Respirator 5 103 50
2. Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) 50 1,000 25/1,0004 25
3. Supplied-Air Respirator (SAR) or Airline Respirator
Demand mode
Continuous flow mode
Pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode


10
50
50
50
1,000
1,000

25/1,0004

25
4. Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
Demand mode
Pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode (e.g., open/closed circuit)

10
50
10,000
50
10,000




Notes:

1 Employers may select respirators assigned for use in higher workplace concentrations of a hazardous substance for use at lower concentrations of that substance, or when required respirator use is independent of concentration.

2 The assigned protection factors in Table 1 are only effective when the employer implements a continuing, effective respirator program as required by this section (29 CFR 1910.134), including training, fit testing, maintenance, and use requirements.

3 This APF category includes filtering facepieces, and half masks with elastomeric facepieces.

4 The employer must have evidence provided by the respirator manufacturer that testing of these respirators demonstrates performance at a level of protection of 1,000 or greater to receive an APF of 1,000. This level of performance can best be demonstrated by performing a WPF or SWPF study or equivalent testing. Absent such testing, all other PAPRs and SARs with helmets/hoods are to be treated as loose-fitting facepiece respirators, and receive an APF of 25.

5 These APFs do not apply to respirators used solely for escape. For escape respirators used in association with specific substances covered by 29 CFR 1910 subpart Z, employers must refer to the appropriate substance-specific standards in that subpart. Escape respirators for other IDLH atmospheres are specified by 29 CFR 1910.134 (d)(2)(ii).


This news release text is on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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