delays enforcement of respiratory protection rule provisions
phase-in covers workers with potential exposure to tuberculosis
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced today that it will delay
until July 1, 2004, enforcing several provisions of the respiratory protection
standard for establishments required to provide respirators for protection
from potential exposure to tuberculosis.
of the six-month period to allow affected employers to come into compliance
with the additional requirements, follows OSHA's withdrawal last month
of its 1997 proposal on tuberculosis and the revocation of a separate respiratory
protection standard for workers exposed to TB.
as annual fit testing and medical evaluations for covered employees may
be new for some employers," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We want
to make sure they are aware of these new requirements and give them every
opportunity to be able to successfully come into compliance."
With the withdrawal
of the TB rule, OSHA announced it would begin applying the general industry
respiratory protection standard for protection against the disease. This
rule includes several requirements which were not as detailed in the revoked
rule, such as updating the facility's respirator program, medical evaluation
requirements, annual fit testing of respirators, and some training and
recordkeeping provisions. During this six month period, OSHA will not cite
these new requirements for establishments with workers exposed only to
tuberculosis. All elements of the revoked rule continue to be enforced
under the corresponding elements of the current respiratory protection
To meet the requirements
of the agency's respiratory protection standard, employers will need to
revise their respiratory protection program, conduct annual respiratory
fit testing, and perform a medical evaluation and annual training for employees
does not affect establishments already covered under the respiratory protection
rule where there is exposure to hazardous substances other than tuberculosis.
All provisions of the rule will continue to be applied to those employers.