OSHA Schedules Public Hearing on Assigned Protection Factors

OSHA is planning an informal public hearing in Washington beginning Jan. 28, 2004, to discuss the agency's proposal to amend the respiratory protection standard to include new assigned protection factors (APFs) and address maximum use concentrations (MUCs).

The hearing will be open to the public and will be held in the auditorium of the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 28 and commence at 9 a.m. on subsequent hearing days, which will be scheduled if needed.

On June 6, 2003, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the existing respiratory protection standard to incorporate APFs as part of a complete respiratory protection program to assist workers and employers in the proper selection of respirators. APFs are numbers that reflect the workplace level of respiratory protection that respirators are expected to provide to employees when worn as part of a complete, effective respiratory protection program.

The proposal contains OSHA's preliminary decisions on an APF Table, definitions for APFs and MUCs, and amendments to replace the existing APF requirements in some OSHA substance-specific standards.

Parties who intend to present testimony at the hearing must notify OSHA in writing by Dec. 12. Individuals who need more than 10 minutes to present their testimony or who will be presenting documentary evidence must provide OSHA with copies of their full testimony and all documentary evidence by Jan. 12, 2004. Parties who provided full testimony and documentary evidence in response to the NRPM do not have to resubmit these materials.

Notices of intention to appear at the hearing should be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Office, Docket No. H049C, Room N-2625, OSHA, US Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave, N.W., Washington, DC 20210. Individuals needing special accommodations should contact Veneta Chatmon, Office of Communications, at (202) 693-1999.

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