WPS Respirator Regulations
Respiratory protection protections are effective January 2, 2017.
Regulations on respirators set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were included in Worker Protection Standard (WPS) in 2015 to go into effect in 2017. These provisions require handlers to have medical evaluations, fit testing, and training when using products which state a respirator must be worn on the label. Remember - anyone who handles pesticides, including the owner or operator, must follow these provisions.
Additional comprehensive information is located in the How to Comply with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard.
Fit Testing & Medical Evaluations
Respirator fit testing is used to make sure there is a proper seal between the face and the respirator to protect the respiratory system of the user. There are two types of respirator fit tests: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative fit testing uses a special instrument to monitor the levels of a contaminant inside and outside the facepiece of a respirator. A score is given dependent on the amount of contaminant found in the facepiece. This score determines how well the facepiece seals and if it may be utilized by the handler. This method of fit testing requires special equipment and trained personnel, but is more accurate than qualitative fit testing.
Qualitative fit testing uses the handler's sense of smell to determine if they can detect certain substances while wearing the respirator. If they detect odor the facepiece does not seal properly and they must find a different respirator. This type of testing can be done by anyone which means employers may purchase their own kits for use.
A handler must be tested for each type of respirator used and must be done annually, if the respirator changes, or if the handler has a physiological change which affects respirator seal.
Medical evaluations are required for handlers who must use a respirator. The evaluations must be completed by a medical professional following a standard OSHA form. Medical evaluations are confidential between the employee and the medical professional. Additionally, the medical evaluation must be completed at no cost to the employee and during normal working hours or at a time convenient to the handler.
The medical professional may include any medical tests, consultations or diagnostic procedures deemed necessary. Medical evaluations may need to be repeated if the original medical determination is given an expiration date, the employee has symptoms related to respirator use, the handler is recommended for re-evaludation, or changes in the work place which change respirator use. The medical professional will send the handler and the employer a written release. The handler can not use a respirator until this release is obtained.
Tests and Evaluations in Montana
Many hospitals and clinics around Montana provide occupational safety respirator fit tests and medical evaluations (table below). The table is not inclusive nor does MSU PEP endorse any providers. The information is provided solely as a resource for pesticide applicators. If you do not see a provider in your area please call your local hospitals and clinics and ask if they provide respirator fit testing and OSHA respirator medical evaluations.
|Location||Provider||Additional Information||Contact Information|
|Missoula||Providence Health & Services||Website||Occupational Health
|Kalispell||The Summit Medical Fitness Center
Kalispell Regional Healthcare
|Website||Occupational Health Services
|Bozeman||Montana Occupational Health||(406) 556-1900|
|Great Falls||Great Falls Medical Services||Website||(406) 454-3247|
|Billings||St. Vincent Healthcare||Website||Occupational Health Services
|Miles City||Holy Rosary Healthcare||Website||Occupational Health Services
|Lewistown||Central Montana Medical Center||Website||Occupational Health
|Libby||Cabinet Peaks Medical Center||Website||Occupational Health Services
Records of medical evaluations, and fit tests must be kept for two years.
Details to include:
- Name of handler
- Type of fit test
- Make, model and size of respirator tested
- Date of fit test
- Results of fit test
- Pass/fail for qualitative fit test
- Record of quantitative fit test
Handlers must receive annual respirator training and demonstrate knowledge of the use of the respirator, why it is necessary, proper fit, maintenance and storage, cartridge selection, and how to recognize medical signs and symptoms (a comprehensive list is located in the WPS How to Comply Manual).
Training must be repeated annually, but also if workplace conditions change, a new respirator is being used or the employee indicates they need additional training.
Records of respirator training must be kept for two years and contain:
- Name and signature of handler
- Date of training
- Trainer's name
- Training topics.