NIOSH testimony on frequency of medical examinations for use of respiratory protection equipment by L. Rosenstock, November 18, 1994.
This testimony summarized the information provided by NIOSH regarding the proposed rule on the frequency of medical examinations for use of respiratory protection equipment. NIOSH recommends that a medical fitness evaluation be performed initially, and annually thereafter, as well as after any illness, injury, surgery, or other event that may materially affect the fitness of the worker to wear a respirator. The content of the evaluations would be determined by a physician. NIOSH is not aware of data to validate the safety or efficacy of this or any respiratory medical fitness determination program. NIOSH also recommends that the initial evaluation include at least a limited physical examination in addition to a questionnaire. This examination could be performed by nonphysician health professionals and would detect potentially silent medical conditions such as hypertension; this would help ensure the ability of the employee to do the assigned task and safely wear a respirator.