Respirator fit testing – OSHA and L&I allow for “just in time” fit testing

April 2, 2020

With the surge in employees needing to wear protective face pieces, or respirators, it is still vitally important to follow the interim guidelines approved by both Washington State Labor and Industries and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. With the interim rules, employees who are being required to wear a respirator or face piece in response to COVID-19 will still need to pass an initial fit test, but this test can now be done using non-destructive methods and a Qualitative testing protocol. Other good faith efforts require hospitals to:

  • Inform employees that the hospital is suspending annual fit testing for N95 respirators
  • Educate employees on the importance of a proper seal at each donning
  • Visually inspect the respirator
  • Remind workers to inform their supervisor, HR, employee health nurse, or respiratory program administrator if they feel the integrity and/or fit of the respiratory protection device has been compromised

Fit tests must be documented, and employees who regularly wear respiratory protection will need their annual fit test once OSHA withdraws the waiver, so please ensure employees getting fit tested as part of the response are differentiated from your normal group. If you have questions or need help with please reach out to Eric Gutzwiler at or 509.741.7561. (Eric Gutzwiler)


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