Covered establishments using respirators for protection from tuberculosis (TB) must now comply with the 1910.134 Respiratory Protection Standard for General Industry. On April 21, 2004 the Safety and Health Codes Board approved the application of the Respiratory Protection Standard for General Industry to respiratory protection against TB, with an effective date of July 1, 2004. The Codes Board agreed to delay enforcement of several portions of the standard to allow employers time to come into compliance. The six-month delay ended on December 31, 2004.
Most of the requirements in 1910.134 and the former 1910.139 are basically the same (see side-by-side comparison at http://www.osha.gov/dep/ohe/tuberculosis/1910_134-1910_139sidebyside.pdf). However, the standard’s sections for medical evaluations, fit-testing, written program, training and recordkeeping have more detailed requirements. The need for a respiratory protection program for TB will vary with the individual facility. TB infection control measures that each health-care facility has taken must be based on a careful assessment of the risk for transmission of M. tuberculosis in that particular setting. Appropriate infection-control interventions can then be developed on the basis of actual risk.