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June 21, 2004

 

RE: Respiratory Protection Regulation Change Regarding TB

Dear Interested Parties:

The Bureau of Labor Standards and Board of Occupational Safety & Health adopt and enforce federal Occupational Safety and Health Regulations for the public sector in the State of Maine. In December 2003, federal OSHA revoked the standard regarding Respiratory Protection for M. Tuberculosis 29 CFR 1910.139. Therefore, employers with employees who may be exposed to M. tuberculosis (TB) on the job must adhere to the requirements in the current regulation with respect to respiratory protection, 29 CFR 1910.134.

The employer�s written respiratory protection program shall include medical evaluations, fit testing, and training for the use care of respirators. If you have employees using respirators, such as hepa-filter respirators, as the employer, you are now required to have medical evaluations and fit testing prior to employee use of respirators against TB. Periodic medical evaluations shall be administered according to the following schedule:

Fit testing for respirators cannot be conducted until after a physician or Licensed Health Care Provider (LHCP) has reviewed the medical evaluation for an employee, and provides, in writing, a determination the employee can use a respirator. Make sure the LHCP you choose to review employee medical evaluations knows the type of respirator to be utilized. Medical evaluations must be kept confidential.

The Board of Occupation Safety & Health has issued a grace period for compliance of January 1, 2005 for public sector employers. Public employers using respirators against TB infection must have a written respiratory protection program that includes medical evaluations, fit testing, and training on the use & care of respirators with documentation of completion in each individual employee file by that date.

If you need further clarification or would like more information, please contact the Workplace Safety & Health Division at (207) 624-6400 or toll-free at 877-SAFE-345. Information on 29 CFR 1910.134 is available on our website: www.safetyworksmaine.org or on OSHA�s website at www.OSHA.gov.

I ask that you forward this information to all interested parties this change may affect within your affiliations.

Sincerely,

 

 

William A. Peabody, Director
Bureau of Labor Standards

/dlm

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