Due to an increased domestic supply of NIOSH-approved respirators, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the emergency use authorization of non-NIOSH-approved disposable respirators.
Last year, manufacturers of NIOSH-approved disposable respirators were under strain to meet demand, especially for N95 masks. That prompted an influx of non-NIOSH-approved respirators. With production back to normal, those devices are no longer permitted for use by workers in health care settings.
The International Safety Equipment Association’s president, Charles Johnson, supported the FDA’s decision with this statement:
“During the COVID pandemic, manufacturers of NIOSH-approved respirators increased production to record numbers and can confidently meet current and future demand,” Johnson said. “American health care professionals deserve reliable, U.S. government-approved protection.”
This follows the FDA’s recommendation in May that health care facilities transition away from strategies intended to conserve disposable respirator supplies. The revocation aligns with the CDC’s Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance and OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19, which aimed to curb crisis capacity strategies in health care facilities.
Which disposable respirators are approved by NIOSH?
Between January 2020 and May 2021, more than 875 respirator models or configurations were approved by NIOSH.
Additionally, more than 6,400 models or configurations exist. Check out NIOSH’s certified equipment list to see if your respirators fit the bill.
FDA recommendations for health care workers and facilities
- Use only FDA-cleared or NIOSH-approved respirators, such as N95s.
- Transition from wearing disposable respirators for extended periods to wearing a disposable respirator for each patient contact.
- Consider redistributing current inventory of non-NIOSH-approved respirators to non-health care settings and other countries in need.
- Continue to increase inventory of available NIOSH-approved respirators.
Respirator Fit Testing
As per OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910, employers shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting facepiece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece (size, style, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter.
Sending your team away from your job site takes time and increases risk of an off-site incident. That’s why we bring all of your medical surveillance testing — including audio & physical exams, respirator fit tests, and lab work — right to your job site, at your convenience.
We work around your schedule to ensure that your team is safe and your workplace is OSHA-compliant. With that, you get peace of mind.
Along with fit testing, we also serve OSHA’s standard that requires medical clearance before using a respirator, which is the most common respiratory violation. For that part, your team can complete the form online, and get results back quickly so they can get back to work.
For the full solution, just complete the form below to get a free quote, or call us at 1-844-622-8633.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!