FAQs- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) > At the current time, for those who have never been fit tested previously, what is the minimum required testing protocol? What about workers who have asthma or who are pregnant?
At the current time, for those who have never been fit tested previously, what is the minimum required testing protocol? What about workers who have asthma or who are pregnant?
All personnel using respirators (including N95s) should be medically cleared for use (assessing cardiac and pulmonary risk factors) and undergo fit testing. Individuals should receive training in use of a PAPR if such respiratory protection is indicated.
As the use of respirators expands beyond traditional acute care health providers during this pandemic with its associated uncertainty and anxiety, changes in use patterns and duration have raised a number of concerns. These include: comfort, fogging of eyewear, “closed in” sensations, skin integrity (irritation, abrasions, allergic reactions, exposure to cleaning chemical residue), work of breathing, and the impact of existing health conditions, such as obesity, heart or lung conditions.
Pregnant workers can use respirators safely. There is no clinically important difference in the quality of air breathed in and out with a properly fitting respirator. The filtering material is not a respiratory hazard. Work of breathing can be increased in pregnant workers using respirators, but studies have shown this to be an effect of the activity itself or resistance of the mask, without a significant difference between small groups of pregnant and non-pregnant workers. These studies have also shown no evidence of fetal distress (as measured by fetal heart rate monitoring).
Appendix A to ¶ 1910.134 – Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory) Part I. OSHA-Accepted Fit Test Protocols. United States Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration. . Accessed on May 6, 2020 at: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134AppA
Appendix C to ¶ 1910.134 – OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Mandatory). United States Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Accessed on May 6, 2020 at: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134AppC
Roberge RJ, Kim J-H, Powell JB. N95 respirator use during advanced pregnancy. Am J Infect Control 2014;42(10):1097-1100. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4469179/pdf/nihms-698453.pdf
Kim J-H, Roberge RJ, Powell JB. Effect of external airflow resistive load on postural and exercise-associated cardiovascular and pulmonary responses in pregnancy: a case control study. Pregnancy Childbirth 2015;15:45. Accessed on May 6, 2020 at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4357216/pdf/12884_2015_Article_474.pdf