The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) updated its Respiratory Protection Standard by deleting several standards and changing some definitions, according to its Web site.

OSHA released a “questions and answers document” on its Web site ( in early August explaining the standards and definitions. The two major warning properties — odor and irritation — are unreliable or otherwise inappropriate to use as indicators because air purifying materials are no longer providing adequate protection. Most toxic substances do not have appropriate sensory warning properties, according to the report.

Each jobsite where respirators are required must have a respiratory program. OSHA is preparing a “Small Entity Compliance Guide” with a sample respirator program. The government agency will issue a compliance directive on the respirator standard. The directive will include inspection and citation guidance to ensure uniform enforcement of the respiratory standard as well as interpretations of the standard.

Annual training on the standard will be required. The training can either be an audiovisual or slide presentation, classroom discussion, informal discussions during safety meetings or any combination of the methods. Additionally, companies will be required to perform an annual fit testing for respirators.