A new training video from OSHA explains proper respirator use for workers in healthcare settings.

The 33 minute video discusses the major components of a respiratory protection program including fit-testing, medical evaluations, training, and maintenance. The video also covers the difference between respirators and surgical masks, and features a segment on common respiratory hazards found in healthcare settings, including airborne infectious agents that cause diseases such as tuberculosis, pandemic influenza, severs acute respiratory syndrome, chicken pox, and measles.

Demonstrations also show how respirators help protect workers from exposure to airborne chemical hazards like formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, which are used commonly in hospital laboratories to preserve tissue samples for medical analysis. These toxic substances can cause eye and nasal irritation, headaches, asthma, and other symptoms. Additionally, formaldehyde is a carcinogen and has been linked to nasal and lung cancer, with possible links to brain cancer and leukemia.

This video is an important training tool, says OSHA. Employers can't rely on respirators to provide the expected protection if workers aren't trained on how to use them properly.

For more information on respiratory protection: www.osha.gov/SLTC/respiratoryprotection/index.html