OSHA proposes new protocol for respirator fit-testing

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on December 26 published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (www.osha.gov) for a new fit-testing protocol - the Abbreviated Bitrex Qualitative Fit-Testing (ABQLFT) protocol - under Appendix A of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard. The agency is accepting public comments until February 25, 2008.

"This proposed rule will add a new fit-test method that has a shorter exercise duration than the current methods," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "This method will give employers additional flexibility in selecting procedures for conducting fit-testing."

The proposed rule would add the ABQLFT as an alternative to the four existing OSHA-approved qualitative fit-test protocols. The ABQLFT protocol currently listed in the existing OSHA-approved Bitrex fit-test protocol in the Respiratory Protection standard would shorten the duration for each of the seven fit-test exercises from one minute to 15 seconds.

The proposed protocol would apply to employers in general industry, shipyard employment and the construction industry.

Interested parties may submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov, the federal eRulemaking Portal; by sending three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC, 20210; telephone 202-693-2350; or if the written submission is 10 pages or less, fax to 202-693-1648. All comments on the NPRM must include the docket number for this Federal Register notice, OSHA 2007-0006. See the Federal Register notice for more information on submitting comments.

Technical questions about this NPRM can be addressed to John E. Steelnack, OSHA Directorate of Standards and Guidance, at 202-693-2289.

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