In this Jan. 14, 2022, file photo, registered nurse Scott McGieson wears an N95 mask as he walks out of a patient's room in the acute care unit of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Credit: Elaine Thompson / AP

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I read the Star Tribune article “Cloth masks out, N95s in” recently in the BDN, and one thing that was missing was the fact that N95 masks are considered to be “respirators,” according to Occupational Health and Safety Administration, 29 CFR 1910-134. As a retired construction health and safety consultant, I think it is important to note that this standard requires employers to do many things when requiring or allowing employees to wear a respirator.

At a minimum employers must: have a written program, perform medical exams to make sure the employee can wear a respirator while performing their duties, perform fit testing and perform training. These are only a few of the requirements under that OSHA standard, and it applies to all general industry and construction businesses.

Thomas E. Slattery