Respirator Clearance for Your Employees
Respirator clearances are OSHA-mandated to determine if an employee can safely and effectively wear a respirator. Before your employees use a respirator or are fit-tested, they must be medically cleared by a licensed healthcare professional. Employees who are exposed to an asbestos and HAZMAT environment are required to wear respirators per OSHA’s respirator protection regulation (CFR 1910.134). Employees issued powered-air purifying respirators and supplied-air respirators with loose-fitting face pieces, hoods or helmets are not subject to respirator fit testing.
Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)
A Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) is one method to determine if an employee has the necessary lung capacity to perform required functions of his or her job. PFTs are performed as part of a medical surveillance examination to ensure those who are required to wear a respirator do so safely and effectively. Using a spirometer, Five Star and WellNow certified staff members will measure the amount of air released and how quickly it is expelled from the lungs.
As part of the respiratory clearance process, OSHA requires completion of the respiratory questionnaire.
This series of questions is designed to get a better history of the respiratory health of your employees while keeping them informed of the respiratory clearance process. This questionnaire should be conducted during the respiratory fit test.
X-rays with B-read
Our occupational medicine services provide on-site X-rays at all of our locations with no appointment needed and online check-ins available. Chest radiography is used to monitor the health of workers who are at risk of developing lung diseases, such as pneumoconiosis, and other occupational respiratory disorders that occur from inhaling particles, such as asbestos or silica, in the workplace. Our licensed on-site technicians ensure Federal compliance with our CR/DR equipment and B-Reader, if necessary.
Qualitative Respirator Fit Testing
Respirator fit testing is required for the proper use of all tight-fitting face pieces used in the workplace.
To be compliant with OSHA 1910.134(f), an employee using any form of facial respirator is to be fit tested:
- Prior to the initial use of their equipment
- Whenever a new face piece is used
- On an annual basis after the initial fit test
Five Star and WellNow offer qualitative fit testing in all of our locations using procedures that follow OSHA Fit Test Protocol 1910.134(f):
- Properly adjust and fit respirator
- Negative pressure seal check of respirator
- Administer Bitrex or smoke irritant
OSHA compliant quantitative fit testing is currently only offered in our Big Flats location. This protocol includes:
- Properly adjusting and fitting the respirator
- Sampling and measurement of air particles in face piece using a PortaCount machine