WSR 98-09-110



[Filed April 22, 1998, 11:20 a.m.]

Original Notice.

Exempt from preproposal statement of inquiry under RCW 34.05.310(4).

Title of Rule: Frequency of medical exams for use of respiratory protection equipment.

Purpose: This rule amends WAC 246-221-117 which in part sets the frequency at which a physician must determine that an individual is medically fit to use respiratory protection equipment in the nuclear industry.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 70.98.050.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 70.98.050.

Summary: The annual requirement for a medical fitness test for users of respiratory protection equipment is being modified to allow the physician to determine the frequency of retesting. This is consistent with the corresponding change in federal requirements for the nuclear industry.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Terry C. Frazee, Tumwater, (360) 236-3221.

Name of Proponent: Division of Radiation Protection, Department of Health, governmental.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 10 CFR 20.1703 (60 FR 7900).

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This rule updates the requirement for a medical fitness test for individuals who wear respiratory protection equipment in the nuclear industry. The amended rule will allow physicians to determine the frequency of retesting if not done annually. This change can significantly lessen the economic burden on radioactive materials licensees where respirators are used without having an adverse impact on worker health and safety.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: WAC 246-221-117 (1)(b)(v) is amended to allow a physician, who determines that an individual user is medically fit to use respiratory protection equipment, the latitude to set the frequency of retesting the individual for medical fitness rather than limit the frequency to every twelve months as currently established by this rule.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This rule adopts a federal regulation without material change as described under RCW 34.05.310(4). RCW 19.85.025 provides that chapter 19.85 RCW does not apply to the adoption of a rule described in RCW 34.05.310(4). In addition, this rule conforms to a federal rule change for which a "regulatory flexibility certification" was prepared stating that the "rule will not have a significant economic impact upon a substantial number of small entities."

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. This rule change is for conformance with a United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation as required under our agreement state status with the federal government. No material changes from the federal regulations are proposed.

Hearing Location: Department of Health, Division of Radiation Protection, Airdustrial Center, Building 5, Tumwater, Washington, on May 27, 1998, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Terry Frazee by May 26, 1998, TDD (800) 833-6388, or FAX (360) 236-2255.

Submit Written Comments to: Terry Frazee, P.O. Box 47827, Olympia, WA 98504-7827, FAX (360) 236-2255, by May 27, 1998.

Date of Intended Adoption: June 3, 1998.

April 20, 1998

Bruce Miyahara



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 94-01-073, filed 12/9/93, effective 1/9/94)

WAC 246-221-117  Use of individual respiratory protection equipment. (1) If the licensee uses respiratory protection equipment to limit intakes pursuant to WAC 246-221-113:

(a) The licensee shall use only respiratory protection equipment that is:

(i) Tested and certified or had certification extended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Mine Safety and Health Administration; or

(ii) Approved by the department on the basis of the licensee's submittal of an application for authorized use of other respiratory protection equipment, including a demonstration by testing, or a demonstration on the basis of reliable test information, that the material and performance characteristics of the equipment are capable of providing the proposed degree of protection under anticipated conditions of use.

(b) The licensee shall implement and maintain a respiratory protection program that includes:

(i) Air sampling sufficient to identify the potential hazard, permit proper equipment selection, and estimate exposures; and

(ii) Surveys and bioassays, as appropriate, to evaluate actual intakes; and

(iii) Testing of respirators for operability immediately prior to each use; and

(iv) Written procedures regarding selection, fitting, issuance, maintenance, cleaning, repair, and testing of respirators, including testing for operability immediately prior to each use; supervision and training of personnel; monitoring, including air sampling and bioassays; and recordkeeping; and

(v) Determination by a physician prior to initial fitting of respirators, and ((at least)) either every twelve months thereafter or periodically at a frequency determined by a physician, that the individual user is ((physically able)) medically fit to use the respiratory protection equipment.

(c) The licensee shall issue a written policy statement on respirator usage covering:

(i) The use of process or other engineering controls, instead of respirators; and

(ii) The routine, nonroutine, and emergency use of respirators; and

(iii) The length of periods of respirator use and relief from respirator use.

(d) The licensee shall advise each respirator user that the user may leave the area at any time for relief from respirator use in the event of equipment malfunction, physical or psychological distress, procedural or communication failure, significant deterioration of operating conditions, or any other conditions that might require such relief.

(e) The licensee shall use equipment within the equipment manufacturer's expressed limitations for type and mode of use and shall provide proper visual, communication, and other special capabilities, such as adequate skin protection, when needed.

(2) When estimating exposure of individuals to airborne radioactive materials, the licensee may make allowance for respiratory protection equipment used to limit intakes pursuant to WAC 246-221-113, provided that the following conditions, in addition to those in subsection (1) of this section, are satisfied:

(a) The licensee selects respiratory protection equipment that provides a protection factor, specified in WAC 246-221-285, greater than the multiple by which peak concentrations of airborne radioactive materials in the working area are expected to exceed the values specified in WAC 246-221-290, Table I, Column 3. However, if the selection of respiratory protection equipment with a protection factor greater than the peak concentration is inconsistent with the goal specified in WAC 246-221-113 of keeping the total effective dose equivalent ALARA, the licensee may select respiratory protection equipment with a lower protection factor provided that such a selection would result in a total effective dose equivalent that is ALARA. The concentration of radioactive material in the air that is inhaled when respirators are worn may be initially estimated by dividing the average concentration in air, during each period of uninterrupted use, by the protection factor. If the exposure is later found to be greater than initially estimated, the corrected value shall be used; if the exposure is later found to be less than initially estimated, the corrected value may be used.

(b) The licensee shall obtain authorization from the department before assigning respiratory protection factors in excess of those specified in WAC 246-221-285. The department may authorize a licensee to use higher protection factors on receipt of an application that:

(i) Describes the situation for which a need exists for higher protection factors, and

(ii) Demonstrates that the respiratory protection equipment provides these higher protection factors under the proposed conditions of use.

(3) In an emergency, the licensee shall use as emergency equipment only respiratory protection equipment that has been specifically certified or had certification extended for emergency use by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

(4) Unless already authorized by license condition, the licensee shall notify the department in writing at least thirty days before the date that respiratory protection equipment is first used pursuant to either subsection (1) or (2) of this section.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.98.050. 94-01-073, 246-221-117, filed 12/9/93, effective 1/9/94.]

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