OSHA's Respiratory Protection
Requirements During the
In light of the Presidential Memorandum on making general use respirators available for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA has issued temporary enforcement guidance for the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). For more information see the Enforcement Memoranda section of OSHA's COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page and Understanding Compliance with OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.
The Respiratory Protection Standard (1910.134) is usually one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of workplaces by OSHA. This section highlights the most commonly used OSHA directives (instructions to OSHA staff) and letters of interpretation (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to respiratory protection, which can assist employers in better complying with the Respiratory Protection Standard.
Written statements of the Agency's policies and procedures regarding a specific topic that provide instructions for compliance officers conducting inspections):
- Enforcement Procedures and Scheduling for Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis. OSHA Directive CPL 02-02-078, (June 30, 2015). Provides general enforcement policies and procedures to be followed when conducting inspections and issuing citations related to occupational exposure to tuberculosis (TB).
- Inspection procedures for the Respiratory Protection Standard. CPL 02-00-158, (June 26, 2014). Establishes agency interpretations and enforcement policies, and provides instructions to ensure uniform enforcement of the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
- Respiratory Protection Program Guidelines. CPL 02-02-054 [CPL 2-254A], (July 14, 2000). Sets forth guidelines for establishing and implementing an OSHA respirator program to ensure that all OSHA employees are protected from exposure to respiratory hazards.
Letters of Interpretation
Supplementary guidance that clarifies the application of an established Agency policy or procedure.
- Filtering facepiece respirators and medical evaluations. (April 24, 2018).
- Voluntary use of surgical masks. (December 20, 2017).
- OSHA requirements for respirator fit testing with and without facepiece accessories. (January 17, 2017).
- Tuberculosis and Respiratory Protection. (July 30, 2004).
- Respiratory protection requirements for hospital staff decontaminating chemically contaminated patients. (September 5, 2002).
- Clarification of the medical evaluation provisions of the revised respiratory protection standard. (November 16, 1998).
- Questions and answers regarding the respiratory protection standard. (October 16, 1998).
- NIOSH Respiratory Protective Device Information Notice "Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) user information regarding compressed breathing gas containers (cylinders), NIOSH approval holder user instructions, and Department of Transportation (DOT) permit and marking." (February 2019).
- OSHA Alert: Loss of Start-Up Oxygen in CSE SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuers. (April 2012). Alerts employers and workers using the CSE Corporation's SR-100 Self-Contained Self-Rescuer (SCSR) to potential failure problems with these respirators.
- Respirator User Notices. Provides lists of respirators whose NIOSH approved certificates have been either voluntarily rescinded by the manufacturer or revoked by NIOSH for cause.