Thursday, January 14, 2010

OSHA respirator and facemask safety guidance videos

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed two new videos for healthcare workers that feature training and guidance on respirator safety.
OSHA's "Respirator Safety" video demonstrates how to correctly put on and take off common types of respirators, such as N95s. "The Difference between Respirators and Surgical Masks" video explains how they prevent exposure to infectious diseases.

"Respirators play an important role in protecting many workers from exposure to chemical and biological hazards in the workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "At a time when pandemic influenza has highlighted the risk to healthcare workers, these videos will prepare and protect workers from the very illnesses they are responsible for treating."

The videos also explain how workers can perform a user seal check to test whether a respirator is worn properly and will provide the expected level of protection. Viewers may watch both English and Spanish versions by visiting OSHA's Respiratory Protection page or the Department of Labor's YouTube site.

According to OSHA's respiratory protection standard 29 CFR 1910.134, respirators must be used as part of a comprehensive respiratory protection plan.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Cal-OSHA Reporter's Jan. 4 flash report about the recall of 3M 8000 respirators made reference to the "8000 series." That term has triggered a deluge of questions to Cal/OSHA about whether other 3M respirators are affected by the recall, which was ordered when health-care employers reported an unacceptably high failure rate during fit tests.

For instance, Craig Brown, senior industrial hygienist for the VHA Center for Engineering & Occupational Safety and Health in Pittsburgh, Pa., notes that there are several sub-series of the 3M 8000 N95 respirators with different face molds, such as 8210, 8211, 8511, 8612, 8670 and more.

The only respirators that have been recalled are the 8000s, says DOSH Senior Safety Engineer Deborah Gold. "Other N95 respirators are not affected by the alert," she says.

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