OSHA Respiratory Protection Program
Often a pulmonary function exam is provided in addition to the OSHA health questionnaire to approve your employees for respirator fit testing clearance. No, the examination in not an OSHA requirement but providing it is both prudent and cost effective, there is no other test that is as quick and accurate for determining your employees current lung functioning and a vital part of your medical surveillance documentation.
As of 1998 annual fit-testing is required of all employees who wear respirators in the course of their employment. Respirator fit testing determines if the respirator that your employee uses is of correct size and in good working order.
Respirator Fit Testing Methods
There are two methods to perform a proper fit-test. One way is qualitative. This involves most often placing a hood over the employee wearing a respirator and entering an easy to taste concentrated atomized solution into the air space around the mask. Qualitative testing has been in use for many years. It is quick to administer and lower in cost then quantitative fit-testing. When done properly it is very accurate and an acceptable means for fit testing half face masks and N95 Masks.
With the advent of quantitative fit-testing equipment in recent years came verifiable documented results. Onsite Medical Service owns (3) Occupational Health Dynamics Quantitative Fit Testing Machines that have been proven both reliable, accurate and faster than the alternative method using the OSHA accepted Re-Don protocol. This is the method that should be used on Full Face Respirators.