OSHA’s respiratory protection standard ranks fourth on top 10 list of most cited standards

Each year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases its list of Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards.

Since FY 2010, their Respiratory Protection Standard (1910.134) has consistently ranked fourth on this list with violations totaling more than 17,000.

In an October article from ISHN.com, author Dave Johnson stated that OSHA penalized employers $1,746,465 for violations of its respiratory protection standard 1910.134 in fiscal year 2013.

Of those citations, the industries struggling most with compliance were:

  • Fabricated metal product manufacturers
  • Specialty trade contractors
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing
  • Primary metal manufacturing
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing

What is the standard?

While the entire Respiratory Protection Standard is quite lengthy, section 1910.134(a) states: In the control of those occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This shall be accomplished as far as feasible by accepted engineering control measures (for example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials). When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators shall be used pursuant to this section.

In short, this standard requires employers to provide a safe work environment where employees are protected against any respiratory hazard that may be present.

Short term protection. Long term prevention.

OSHA’s respiratory protection standard is so important because it not only helps protect employees from immediate, acute exposure, it also helps prevent long term exposure which could result in serious, sometimes fatal diseases.

Multiple studies have found that chronic, long term exposure to respiratory hazards is directly linked to heart disease, reduced lung function, central nervous system damage and a host of other ailments.

In most cases unfortunately, by the time symptoms develop the worker has been exposed for decades during their working life. That is why respiratory protection is so vital to overall employee health and safety.

Engineering Safety Controls

If your workplace or operation produces fume, smoke, mist, gas, or other vapor that is harmful, consider investing in an engineering safety control system equipped with high quality filtration media to scrub the air of hazardous fume.

Sentry Air Systems manufactures a wide range of air filtration and fume extraction systems that are durable, effective and easy to use and maintain.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our products, please give us a call at 800.799.4609, email sales@sentryair.com, or fill out the feedback form below. One of our technical application sales specialists will contact you to further discuss your application.