How does an online respirator clearance work?
The Occupational Safe and Health Administration (OSHA) requires companies to be compliant to its regulations, which enforce procedures and considerations that have to be taken into account before and while working under hazardous conditions.
For companies that employ workers who will be using respirators, the OSHA stipulates that all employees must be medically assessed for respirator use in order to certify that this does not represent a risk or impediment for the worker.
These assessments are called respirator medical evaluations or respirator clearance, and correspond to the OSHA’s standard 29 CFR 1910.134. A Respirator clearance is normally applied in the form of a questionnaire that includes questions regarding to current and past employee’s health and working conditions.
There are four main conditions that must be met in order to apply the OSHA’s Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire correctly. 1) All respirator medical evaluations must be performed by a physician or other licensed health care professional (or PLHCP). 2) The respirator clearance test must include all questions in section 1 and 2 of part A, and might include questions of part B at the discretion of the PLHCP. 3) The employer needs to provide follow-up examinations for any employee who gives a positive response to any question in section 2 of part A. 4) Respirator medical evaluations must be administered confidentially, without cost, and during the working hours (or at convenience of the employee).
Having met these four criteria, the format in which the respirator medical evaluation is delivered to the employees can vary. The most frequent ways of clearing workers for respirator use are in-clinic, phone and online respirator clearance tests. However, the advantages of an online respirator clearance test outnumber the ones of the in-clinic and phone counterparts. That is why we recommend you to learn more about how it works.
In recent years, online respirator medical clearance tests are becoming more and more popular, mostly because they are designed to reduce company costs. In fact, there are various choices in the market that can meet the standards of your company. They all operate however in a very similar fashion, which could be generally described as follows.
The process of Online Respirator Clearance Tests
First of all, since this method might be completely new for many companies, respirator medical evaluations providers normally offer a couple of free tries. This has the objective of employers becoming familiar with the online platform. So before paying for any respirator clearance we strongly recommend that you try it first.
Now, before commencing the certification process, there usually is a pre-step, which implies the registration of the employer onto the platform by the test provider. This may include creating an account for the company and giving him access to a certain number of respirator clearances. Once the company has access to the online platform, the employer can start using the management tools. The whole process can be divided into three major steps:
I. New certification request
- The employer creates a certification profile indicating the conditions under which one or more employees will work. These conditions include: respirator type, respirator usage, work effort, environment conditions, chemical exposure, protective equipment, a brief description of the job, and a respirator profile name.
- The employer registers the name and contact data of the employees who will take the test. Contact data could be registered as email and/or telephone number. This is necessary since those are the means by which the instructions for completing the test will be sent.
- The employer requests a new certification. For doing this, the employer first selects one or more registered employees, then assigns them a respirator profile, selects a language (English or Spanish, etc.) for the test, and finally chooses the contact means for sending the instructions to the employee.
II. Online Test completion
- The employee receives the instructions via email or text/SMS by the employer. The instructions usually include a user password.
- The employee logs onto the web site using a password included in the instructions. Usually this gives the employee direct access to the test in the language previously selected by the employer. Now he/she is ready to answer the respirator medical questionnaire.
- The employee goes through the questionnaire and answers all the questions in order for the system to allow him/her to submit the test. In most cases, test completion can be done in just 15 minutes.
III. Results notification and report
- The employee receives immediate notification of his/her respirator user status. All answers are treated with confidentiality and cannot be seen by the employer, in order to protect employees’ health information.
- Then the employer is informed about the respirator use status of the employees who took the test, minutes after they complete the test.
- Finally, both employer and employees are notified by the system within 1 business day in case they need a follow-up examination.
As you can see, the process for completing a respirator clearance test by an online provider is pretty straightforward. This is why ICS Respirator has developed a certified online version of the OSHA´s Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. We use digital technologies in order to provide solutions that make work safety easier and more cost-effective for companies.
Our Online Respirator Clearance Tests will reduce your company costs since your workers will be able to take the test and be evaluated without leaving the workplace and in just 15 minutes. Try it for FREE!
If you want to learn more about the advantages of online respirator clearance tests vs in-clinic and phone versions, we invite you to read more in our blog.