The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed revised fit tests for determining the effectiveness of respiratory protection facemasks.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published January 22 in the Federal Register. The rule proposes two revised fit test procedures under OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard.

In 1998, OSHA issued the revised OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, which incorporated two categories of respirator fit tests. Some tests expose wearers to airborne agents to determine if they can detect them and other tests use a machine to measure how much of a test agent leaks into a respirator. The proposed revisions would allow certain machine-based fit tests to be conducted more quickly and increase the required score for passing them.

The agency encourages the public to comment on the proposed rule. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and reference Docket No. OSHA-2007-0007. Comments may also be submitted by fax at 202-693-1648 or by mail to the OSHA Docket Office, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, OSHA, Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210.