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									 Safety Management
     Safety Management

     Protection                               Is your program effective?
       By Brent Doney, Mark Greskevitch, Dennis Groce, Girija Syamlal, Ki Moon Bang and Jacek M. Mazurek

                         R RESPIRATORS PROTECT WORKERS against vari-
                           ous airborne contaminants that may cause adverse
                           health effects. In circumstances where ventilation or
                           substitution of a less-toxic chemical is not possible,
                           respiratory protection may be the only protection
                                                                                          tor fit tests performed; and presence of substances that
                                                                                          prompted the decision to use respiratory protection
                                                                                          (BLS, 2003). This article discusses the elements of an
                                                                                          effective respiratory protection program and under-
                                                                                          scores the need for a company self-assessment.
                           available to workers. However, to effectively protect
                           respirator users, an adequate written respiratory              Respiratory Protection Program
                           protection program must be established.                        Quality Indicators
                               Respirator-related issues continue to be among                Each listed question [developed on the basis of
                           those most frequently cited by OSHA inspectors.                OSHA (1998) requirements and NIOSH (2004) rec-
                           From September 2006 to October 2007, of all standards          ommendations] examines the key components of an
                           cited within general industry, federal OSHA citations          effective respirator program. The percentages of res-
                           for respirator-related issues were the third highest in        pirator-using establishments with indication of a
                           number (OSHA, 2008). In 2001, NIOSH and the                    potentially inadequate respiratory protection pro-
                           Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveyed 40,002 ran-          gram are listed as are suggestions to improve respi-
                           domly selected U.S. private industry establishments            rator programs.
                           (BLS, 2003). U.S. private industry establishments              1) Is there a written change-out schedule for air-
                           employed 110 million workers in 2001 (BLS, 2001).              purifying gas/vapor filters?
                                                                                             Survey results. Of respirator-using establish-
                                            Respirator Use in Industry                    ments using gas/vapor filters, 78.1% did not have a
    Brent Doney, M.S., M.P.H., is an
                                          In 2001, approximately 4.5% (an esti-           written change-out schedule.
    industrial hygienist with NIOSH in
                                       mated 281,776) of establishments and                  Suggestions. Many substances have poor warn-
  Morgantown, WV. He holds an M.S.
                                       3.1% (3,303,414) of workers in all pri-            ing properties (e.g., isocyanates in paint), so a
   from Montana Tech and an M.P.H.
                                       vate industry used respirators for                 change-out schedule to replace spent cartridges is
        from West Virginia University.
                                            required purposes (BLS, 2003). Of             needed. Filtering elements must be changed often
   Mark Greskevitch is an industrial        these, an estimated 30,148 larger estab-
hygienist with NIOSH in Morgantown,
                                                                                          enough to prevent saturation with chemicals or clog-
                                            lishments (250 or more employees) and         ging with dust. Cartridge change-out schedules
       WV. He holds a B.S. from West        251,627 smaller establishments (fewer
                   Virginia University.
                                                                                          are available from OSHA (
                                            than 250 employees) used respirators          etools/respiratory/change_schedule.html) and from
 Dennis Groce, Ph.D., P.E., CSP, CIH,       for required purposes.                        NIOSH (
  is a contractor with EG&G Technical           As part of a study to evaluate respira-   multivapor.html).
         Services Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA.   tor usage practices and how these
 Girija Syamlal, MBBS, M.P.H., is an
                                            practices compare with OSHA (1998)            2) Does the program require use of the manu-
         epidemiologist with NIOSH in
                                            regulations and NIOSH (2004) recom-           facturer instructions or NIOSH certification labels
                   Morgantown, WV.
                                            mendations, a survey questionnaire was        to adjust the airflow for air-line respirators?
                                            mailed to the selected establishments             Survey results. Of air-line respirator-using estab-
   Ki Moon Bang, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a        during August 2001 through February           lishments, 77.2% did not require use of instructions
research epidemiologist with NIOSH in       2002. It was designed to collect informa-     or labels or did not know how airflow was adjusted.
                   Morgantown, WV.          tion on the types of respiratory pro-             Suggestions. Airflow must be properly adjusted
Jacek M. Mazurek, M.D., Ph.D., is a         tection used by workers at an                 for the air-line respirator to ensure adequate flow to
     supervisory health scientist with      establishment; assessment of medical fit-     the user and prevent infiltration of dusts and chem-
        NIOSH in Morgantown, WV.            ness to wear respirators; types of respira-   icals (OSHA, 1998). In addition, the length of air
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