Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.134(e)(5)(i)

February 25, 1982

Mr. Richard A. Uhlar
Industrial Hygienist
International Chemical Workers Union
1655 West Market Street
Akron, Ohio 44313

Dear Mr. Uhlar:

This is in response to your letter of October 1, 1981, regarding previous correspondence on the possible use of a rubber skindiving hood under a respirator to provide an adequate face seal in cases where employees have beards or other facial hair. Please accept my apology for the delay in our response.

The proposal for the use of a device that would effectuate a respirator face seal over a beard or other growth of hair appears to be in conflict with the provision of OSHA's respiratory protection standard, 29 CFR [1910.134(g)(1)(i)], which states in part:

"Respirators shall not be worn when conditions prevent a good face seal. Such conditions may be a growth of beard, sideburns, a skull cap that projects under the facepiece,...."

(Correction 08/12/99)

["The employer shall not permit respirators with tight-fitting facepieces to be worn by employees who have:

Facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face or that interferes with valve function; or Any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal or valve function."]

For example, the mere covering of excessive facial hair with such a rubber hood might alter the natural facial contours, which could significantly obstruct the conformity of the facepiece to the geometry of the face.

At this time, no evidence has been presented to demonstrate that an adequate quantitative fit test could be ob