The areas of the skin which contact the face or neck seal and nosecup seal must be free of any hair. This has prompted you to question if this could be a violation of the osha standard.
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A spraying operation within your plant requires employees to use respiratory protection consisting of a tight fitting full face air purifying respirator.
Respirator for beards osha. Popular cultural events such as movember or no shave november the male health counterpart to the popular susan g. 3m techupdate facial hair respirators the effects of facial hair or beards is a common issue wherever respirators are worn. The answer is clear beards are not acceptable if close fitting respirators are worn.
You are the safety manager for a manufacturing company with about 500 employees. Responding is eric dietrich product manager for respiratory protection life sciences bullard cynthiana ky the long full beard look is a current fashion statement but presents a challenge to workers who are required to use respiratory protection. Thank you for your letter to the occupational safety and health administration osha.
Recently you noticed that two of your new welders who wear a respirator by choice have grown full beards. Does osha require employees wearing a tight fitting respirator to be clean shaven. Your letter requested clarification on oshas respiratory protection standard 29 cfr 1910134 which addresses facial hair and respirator fit.
Some types of respirators do not require a face seal and can usually be worn by bearded employees. Specifically these are positive pressure respirators of the hood and helmet type and types that can be used with a continuous flow supplied air respirator where facial hair and beards will have less effect on the fit. Workplace solutions respiratory protection respirator fit tests and facial hair if i can get a worker with facial hair to pass a quantitative fit test using a portacount can i then allow that worker to wear the full facepiece without him needing to shave.
When you asked one of the employees about his facial hair he explained that he likes to have a full beard in cold weather. Your letter has been referred to the directorate of enforcement programs for an answer to your question. Facial hair that lies along the sealing area of a respirator such as beards sideburns or mustaches will interfere with respirators that rely on a tight facepiece fit to achieve maximum protection.
Oshas interpretation of facial hair and respirator fit osha cites firm for workers with facial hair wearing respirators osha official explains recent noise policy politics 228 new niosh study supports osha annual fit testing requirements for filtering facepiece respirators.
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