Are Respirator Medical Evaluations Required Annually?

By Olivia Wann, BS, JD

 

OSHA has temporarily suspended annual medical evaluations during COVID due to shortage of respirators.

CDC indicates the following regarding medical evaluations:

Medical evaluation is required once, prior to initial fit testing and use, if you are required to use a respirator in your workplace. However, the medical evaluation may need to be repeated if you, your supervisor, or your respiratory program administrator recognize signs or symptoms that may affect your ability to use the assigned respirator, or a PLHCP, determines that a condition exists which causes you to need another medical evaluation.

Are medical evaluations a must? Yes. Medical evaluations are required to determine if the wearer is physiologically and physically capable of wearing a respirator. A medical evaluation is an element of the written respiratory protection program that is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.134). The standard requires that if you are required to wear a respirator due to a potential hazard in your work environment, you must be fit tested, trained, and medically evaluated prior to having a respirator issued.

Read CDC article here: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/respsource3medical.html

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