Personal Protective Equipment

Respiratory protection

Exposed employees have to wear respirators:
  1. While feasible engineering and work practice controls are being installed or implemented;

  2. During maintenance and repair activities or other activities where engineering and work practice controls are not feasible;

  3. If feasible engineering and work practice controls are insufficient to reduce employee exposure; and

  4. In emergencies.
See the PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT for guidance in developing a respirator program.
Employees who use an air purifying respirator must change filters whenever an increase in breathing resistance is detected. Employees who wear respirators must be allowed to wash their face and respirator face-piece whenever necessary to prevent skin irritation associated with respirator use. An employee must not be assigned to tasks requiring the use of respirators if a physician determines that the employee is unable to function normally wearing a respirator or that the employee’s safety and health or that of others would be affected by the employee’s use of a respirator.

In this case, the employer must assign the employee to another job or give the employee the opportunity to transfer to a different job which does not require the use of a respirator. The job must be with the same employer, in the same geographical area, and with the same seniority, status, and rate of pay, if such a position is available.

The employer must assure that a respirator issued to an employee fits properly and exhibits minimum face-piece leakage. Following a medical evaluation, each employee who will wear a respirator on the job must have a quantitative or qualitative fit test. This has to be done at the time of initial fitting and at least every six months for each employee wearing a negative pressure respirator.

Protective clothing

For any employee exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos that exceed the PEL, protective clothing must be provided and required to be worn. The clothing may include coveralls or similar full-body clothing, head coverings, gloves, and foot coverings. Wherever the possibility of eye irritation exists, face shields, vented goggles, or other appropriate protective equipment must be provided and worn.

Asbestos-contaminated work clothing has to be removed in change rooms and placed and stored in closed containers which prevent dispersion of asbestos into the ambient environment. Protective clothing and equipment must be cleaned, laundered, repaired or replaced to maintain its effectiveness. The employer must inform any person who launders or cleans asbestos contaminated clothing or equipment of the potentially harmful effects of exposure to asbestos. Contaminated clothing and equipment needs to be transported in sealed impermeable bags or other closed impermeable containers and appropriately labeled.

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