Washington State Department of Commerce sent this bulletin at 09/23/2020 12:10 PM PDT
What you need to know about…
N95 (and KN95) respirators and related documentation
Employers must enact a respiratory protection program when workers require respirators.
Fit testing is just one element of worker respiratory protection. Chapter 296-842 of the Washington Administrative Code details an employer’s obligations when workers encounter hazards that require respirator use.
Employer responsibilities include designation of an administrator, regulating voluntary respirator use, maintenance of a written program, record-keeping, medical evaluation, fit testing and training. Each is a legal requirement.
Workers must be medically cleared and fit-tested to wear N95 (KN95) respirators.
Click to > Request an on-site Fit Test:
A respirator is a critical defense against respiratory hazards, including COVID-19. A respirator works by filtering air inhaled by its wearer. This filtration is only effective if the seal is complete – if contaminants get around the filter, the wearer is at risk.
Fit testing is an important and legally-required precaution for workers that require respirators. Fit testing ensures that the respirator properly seals against the wearer’s face, preventing contaminants from sneaking around the filter.
N95 (KN95) is required when L&I standards indicate high risk of exposure
This L&I document is the legal standard for respiratory protection selection during the pandemic. For “high-risk” and “extremely high-risk” work, fit-tested and rated respiratory protection is required. See L&I’s “Which mask for which task”
The FDA has approved some KN95 models for use in high-risk work settings
KN95 masks are generally more available and affordable than N95 masks, at the moment. The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations for some models of KN95 masks, permitting their use in contexts where NIOSH-approved N95 respirators are required. Check the FDA EUA page to see if a KN95 model of interest has received EUA. If so, that model may be used “high-risk” or “extremely high-risk” work settings