OSHA & CDC/NIOSH Release Guidance on N95 Respirator Extended Use and Reuse

April 5, 2020

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released guidelines to help combat supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators. The agency’s guidelines address alternatives to N95s, and extended use and reuse of the respirators. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is the research arm of OSHA, also released N95 guidelines addressing extended use and reuse of the respirators, specifically for healthcare settings. The CDC/NIOSH guidelines are much more detailed than OSHA’s guidelines. Their recommendations are intended for use by professionals who manage respiratory protection programs in healthcare institutions to protect health care workers from job-related risks of exposure to infectious respiratory illnesses. However, the guidelines provide excellent information for anyone considering extended use or reuse of N95s. For example, the guidelines make the case that extended use is preferred over reuse of the respirators because extended use limits the number of times the respirators will be touched.  The guidelines address the risks of extended use and reuse, and provide independent sets of recommendations for extended use, and reuse.

OSHA GUIDELINES

CDC/NIOSH GUIDELINES

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