OSHA Temporarily Suspends Annual Fit-Testing for N95s

2020-03-17 |

In recognition of the need to conserve PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA has issued a memo on “Temporary Enforcement Guidance – Healthcare Respiratory Protection Annual Fit-Testing for N95 Filtering Facepieces During the COVID-19 Outbreak.” The memo emphasizes the importance of fit-testing to protect healthcare personnel, but recommends that employers follow CDC guidance for optimizing the supply of N95 respirators during this outbreak. The OSHA memo to compliance safety and health officers allows them to exercise enforcement discretion to temporarily suspend the annual fit-testing requirement in certain circumstances, including allowing different testing methods to avoid destruction of the device, using only NIOSH-certified respirators, making a good-faith effort to comply with the regulations, and ensuring users understand the importance of performing a user seal check when donning a respirator.