The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued interim
enforcement guidance to help combat supply shortages of disposable N95
filtering face piece respirators, according to www.osha.gov.
The action marks the department’s latest step to ensure the availability of
respirators and follows President Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use
Because of the effects on workplace conditions caused by limited supplies of
N95 respirators, employers should reassess their engineering controls, work
practices and administrative controls to identify changes they can make to
decrease the need for N95 respirators.
If respiratory protection must be used, employers may consider use of
alternative classes of respirators that provide equal or greater protection
compared with an N95 respirator, such as National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health-approved, nondisposable, elastomeric respirators or powered,
When these alternatives are not available or where their use creates
additional safety or health hazards, employers may consider extended use or
reuse of N95 respirators, or use of N95 respirators that were approved but have
since passed the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, under specified
This interim guidance will take effect immediately and remain in effect
until further notice; it is intended to be time-limited to the current public
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