The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was enacted “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act.” With the Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) was established as part of the United States Department of Labor.
OSHA established standards to protect workers against respiratory conditions resulting from contaminated jobsites.
RESPIRATORY PROTECTION (29 CFR 1910.134)
Respiratory Protection had over 2,500 cited violations in 2020. The purpose of this standard is to prevent atmospheric contamination of the workplace and to reduce the chance of breathing in air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gasses, smokes, sprays, or vapors.
An employer must:
- Develop and implement a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures and elements for required respirator use.
- Use engineering control measures such as enclosing or confining the area of the operation, create general and local ventilation, and/or substitute for less toxic materials.
- Provide appropriate respirators to employees working on site when engineering control measures are not able to be performed or during their installation.
- Select appropriate respirators, secure medical evaluations of employees, get fit testing done, detail procedures for proper use of respirators in routine and reasonably foreseeable emergency situations, create procedures and schedules for cleaning/disinfecting, storing, inspecting, repairing, replacing, or otherwise maintain respirators.
- Train employees in respiratory hazards to which they are potentially exposed during routine and emergency situations, as well as training employees as to the proper use of respirators.
The inhalation of debris or toxins in the air at improperly constructed sites/the failure to provide the correct respiratory protection could result in damage to the lungs, mouth, obstruction of airways, or wrongful death.
When employers ignore OSHA’s safety standards, it is predictable that workers will suffer serious injury or death. When workers suffer injuries on the jobsite resulting from lacking respiratory protection, those people in charge of safety at the jobsite may be responsible for the consequences of failing to protect workers from these foreseeable dangers.
If you have questions/concerns regarding lacking respiratory protection at the jobsite that result in serious injury, you should consult a lawyer experienced in handling jobsite injury cases. For questions, please contact one of the experienced lawyers at DILLER LAW, PC.