Respiratory protection. Employees need to be protected against harmful dusts, fumes, vapors, etc. Respirators during a time of COVID; now there’s a challenge. Whether it is finding an alternatives to hard-to-obtain respirators, advising on alternatives for bearded employees, or simply determining the correct respirator to use, we have addressed it.
A medical nonprofit had questions about appropriate respirators (alternatives to the hard-to-obtain N95s) and eye protection for their staff who work in operating rooms throughout the region. While they were used to dealing with PPE in the operating room, the coronavirus presented a whole set of unfamiliar issues. They turned to their occupational health provider, who turned to CHESS’s industrial hygienist, recognizing her expertise in this area. We gave them the guidance they needed to keep their staff safely on the job.
A microbiological testing laboratory began working with a new virus line. They recognized respirators were required, but were uncertain about which ones to use, if they needed a written program, and what else they needed to consider. CHESS’s industrial hygienist provided guidance on choosing appropriate respirators, drafted their respiratory protection program, advised them on how to address a bearded employee’s respirator use, and provided respirator training and quantitative fit testing. She’s continued to work with them, doing annual training and fit testing, and helping to find a suitable respirator for one employee who was hard to fit. When they started working with live strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, they again called on CHESS’s industrial hygienist for guidance. They appreciated having us as a resource as they need us.