Re: safety question

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From:Bert Dotson <>
To:"Hoye, Glenda F. (Fka Hood)" <>
Date:Thu, 23 Sep 1999 13:15:40 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

The respirator program at any particular lab depends on the needs of 
the laboratory, the risks of exposure and the choices made by the 
Hazmat program. No one is required to be fitted for a respirator 
unless they work in an environment where engineering (Hoods, BSCs) 
and process controls do not work or are insufficient. There is no 
CAP or OSHA requirement for respirators. There are requirements to 
limit exposures! Respirators are simply one tool for controlling 
exposures and exposure risks. 
It is expensive for a safety program to issue respirators because 
they must be individually fitted and every person fitted must have a
physical examination testing their physical suitability for wearing a 
respirator. Then, there is the periodic training (annual minimum) in 
the use of respirators.
If there is a centralized and dependable spill response team, a 
laboratory may decide that only these individuals are fitted with 
respirators. Spill response for other individuals must then be to 
evacuate the area immediately. If you depend on a spill response team 
that is contracted from an outside company or that has to arrive from 
a distance, you would want several technicians fitted for 
respirators. OSHA frequently does require stupid behavior, but in 
the case of respirators, the law is pretty reasonable. Please note 
that someone did post a message earlier mistakenly stating that the 
CAP requires respirators. CAP requires that a laboratory meet 
exposure limits, that the laboratory control for risks of exposure, 
and that persons fitted for respirators be trained in their use.

Bert Dotson

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