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TEMPORARY EXCEPTION TO AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATION SERVICE POLICY REGARDING VOLUNTARY USE OF N95 FILTERING FACEPIECE RESPIRATORS

On May 15, 2020, the FAA briefed on the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) organization’s plan to temporarily lift the ban on the voluntary use of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (“N95 masks”).

AIR currently has policies in place that prohibit the voluntary use of N95 masks.  However, in the interest of public health during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, AIR is temporarily allowing the voluntary use of N95 masks.  During this temporary period, any employee that voluntarily chooses to wear an N95 mask must complete and sign a form that will be filed with his or her supervisor.

As background, the N95 masks are primarily intended for healthcare professionals.  AIR is not providing N95 masks for COVID-19-related protection.  Although an N95 mask is not required for external worksite inspections, surveillance, or flight check rides, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to meet certain obligations for workers who voluntarily wear respirators at work.  Most workers who wear respirators use them because they are required to do so by their employer to protect them from airborne hazards.  If an employer allows an employee to wear a respirator where it is not required, it is considered voluntary respirator use, and OSHA regulations regarding voluntary use must be followed.  Accordingly, during this temporary lift, AIR bargaining unit employees must sign a form regarding the voluntary use of the N95 mask.

AIR will communicate electronically to all employees in the coming days on the temporary lift of the ban on voluntary use of N95 masks.

POCs: Region X ARVP Curt Howe, Region X ARVP Bob Atkin, AIR National Representative Scott Odle, Thomas Twitchell, and Labor Relations Staff Representative Melinda Kim

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