The aim of this study was to assess the standard of care among occupational medicine practioners for determining medical fitness to wear a respirator.
A 15-item email/telephone survey was conducted of members of the Michigan Occupational and Environmental Medical Association.
Sixty-seven percent of occupational medicine practioners who responded performed respirator evaluations; 75% did more than just the required Occupational Safety Health Administration questionnaire. Cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms and problems wearing a respirator (87% to 95%) were the most common reasons for additional testing and denying medical clearance (58% to 82%). Sixty percent of practioners required workers to have an annual evaluation.
The frequency of medical evaluation, which specific tests were performed, and the criteria used to determine fitness to wear a respirator varied markedly between practioners. Further research is needed to determine whether the widespread variation is a sign of too little or too much testing by different practioners.
Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit (Ms Desautels); and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing (Mr Singh, Ms Burrell, Dr Rosenman).
Address correspondence to: Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD, Michigan State University, 909 Fee Road, Room 117 West Fee, East Lansing, MI 48824 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Funding for this study was provided by Michigan Occupational and Environmental Medicine Educational Foundation.
There are no conflicts of interests to declare.