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OSHA Updates Cotton Dust Standard

OSHA has updated its landmark Cotton Dust Standard 29 CFR 1910.1043, which describes how occupational spirometry tests must be conducted to protect workers’ respiratory health.

Of particular importance are requirements for evaluation of worker spirometry results in medical surveillance paragraph 1910.1043(h)(2)(iii), mandating that National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) reference values and Lower Limits of Normal (LLN) be used.

Mandatory Appendix D has also been updated, requiring, among other elements, that large real-time graphical displays be available while the spirometry test is being conducted to help technicians elicit maximal forced expiratory maneuvers from their subjects.

Some spirometer manufacturers design their equipment to meet Cotton Dust Standard specifications, which now comply with American Thoracic Society recommendations.