The U.S. Department of Labor has issued new guidance for respiratory protection during a shortage of N95 masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the shortage, the federal government is advising employers to consider using respirators and filters that may be certified under standards from other countries or jursidictions and possibly reusing expired or already used N95 masks. The Department of Labor (DOL) is also suggesting that employers reasses their engineering controls, work practices, and administrative controls to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95 respirators.
This guidance from DOL was issued on April 3rd, 2020 and can be found here and here. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued enforcement guidance on the shortage of respiratory protection and the use of protection equipment certified under other standards duing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small businesses affected by this guidance includes healthcare workers and any business requiring the need for respiratory protection such as those in the autobody industry, collision repair, and any businesses involved in surface coating, abrasive blasting, or sanding.