DPR Respiratory Protection RulesDPR amended sections 6000, 6720, 6738, and 6793, and adopted section 6739 of Title 3, California Code of Regulations. See: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/legbills/calcode/chapter_.htm. The regulatory action pertains to respiratory protection worn by employees working with pesticide materials. In summary, the action revised the written respiratory protection program that employers must establish when employees are required by pesticide label, restricted materials permit, or regulation to use respirators in the workplace.
DPR Respiratory Protection Rules
Both the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL’s) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and, later, the California Department of Industrial Relation's (DIR’s) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) have revised their respiratory protection regulations. While the prior rules were considered protective, DPR was required to revise its respiratory protection regulations to be consistent with Cal/OSHA.
Summary of new respiratory regulations:
- Would require a respirator "program administrator" to administer the respiratory protection program and conduct the required evaluations of program effectiveness.
- A more extensive written respiratory protection program that describes work-site specific procedures for selecting, fit testing, using, cleaning, inspecting, storing, repairing. It also describes the procedures for employee medical evaluation, training, handling emergencies, and regularly evaluating the respiratory protection program.
• Require the employer to identify a physician or other professional licensed health care provider (PLHCP) to perform a medical evaluation prior to requiring an employee to use a respirator. The medical evaluation begins with the employee confidentially completing a medical questionnaire or providing employees with an initial medical examination that covers the same material. The employer is required to obtain a written recommendation from the PLHCP regarding an employee's ability to use a respirator.
- Language that addresses the voluntary use of respirators.
- Requires revised fit testing and face-piece seal checks.
- Requires periodic and annual program evaluations. Any deficiencies identified during this assessment shall be corrected within 30 days. A written documentation of these evaluations and consultations shall be maintained.
- Requires detailed precautions to be taken including the number of people necessary, means of communication, specific rescue training, notification of the employer, respiratory equipment, and means to retrieve the employee(s) that enters an IDLH atmosphere.
- Requires greater specificity as to the requirements for the maintenance and repair of respiratory protective devices, detailing the source for cleaning and disinfecting information, the appropriate conditions of storage, the minimum elements of equipment inspections, and the repair/removal- from-service requirements for defective or otherwise failed respirators.
- Specifies where emergency respirators should be stored, both for general purposes (at the work site) and for specific conditions (away from the source of potential respiratory hazard the equipment it supposed to protect against).
- Expands current rules pertaining to breathing air suppliers.
- Stipulates that the NIOSH identification and information on respiratory protective devices not be removed or made illegible.
- Training requirements on various kinds of personal protective equipment is revised to require employers to provide additional training to ensure each employee can demonstrate knowledge and skills specific to the use of respiratory protection in their workplace.
- Improves the clarity on the requirements for program evaluation and provides for employee input for program improvement and evolution.
- Requires an employer to use an established hierarchy for determining the end-of-service.
- Requires the employer to retain written information regarding medical recommendations, fit testing, and the respirator program for review by affected employees and to the CAC or persons designated by the Director for examination and copying.