Strict rules exist for respirator use to prevent work injury

| Apr 18, 2019 | Workplace Injuries

Workers in Arizona whose jobs expose them dangerous airborne contaminants must be protected. Employers must establish engineering controls such as scrubbing to remove contaminants and providing adequate ventilation to limit exposure, but if such controls are not sufficient, respirators must be provided to prevent work injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a respiratory protection standard that mandates medical evaluation of employees before they wear respirators.

Respirators are designed in two types. The first type is used to prevent inhalation of hazardous materials. They could be either particulate respirators to prevent particulate matter from entering the workers’ lungs or gas masks that filter out gases and chemicals. The second respirator type provides the worker with respirable air that could be compressed clean air supplied from a remote source such as those used by airlines. Alternatively, respirators could have built-in air supplies, known as self-contained breathing apparatus.

Some workers could have medical conditions that would put their lives at risk if they should wear respirators. Based on the specific OSHA regulations, a licensed physician or health care professional must perform a medical evaluation based on OSHA-prescribed questionnaires. The assessment must take place during working hours and at a convenient location for the employee. The health care professional must also provide information and explain the procedures and the use of respirators to the employee during the evaluation.

Any Arizona worker who suffers a work injury will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The process to claim benefits could be a daunting task, but help is available. An experienced attorney can assist in the pursuit of compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable benefits.