Use of respirators in the workplace
March 21, 2002
Respirators had been used by employees in about 10 percent of the private industry workplaces surveyed in late 2001.
The term respirator refers to any device designed to provide the wearer with respiratory protection against inhalation of a potentially hazardous atmosphere. Dust masks, full-facepiece respirators, and self-contained breathing apparatuses (where air or oxygen is carried in a tank on the worker's back) are examples of respirators.
In nearly half of the 619,400 establishments where respirators were used, they were used by employees on a voluntary basis only, and, in about 12 percent, they were used only when required because of emergencies.
These data are from a special survey conducted by the BLS Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities Program for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find more information on the use of respirators in workplaces in news release USDL 02-141, "Respirator Use and Practices" (TXT) (PDF).
Definitions of voluntary and required respirator use:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Use of respirators in the workplace on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/mar/wk3/art04.htm (visited January 16, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.
A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
Spending on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Self-employment in the United States
Trends in self-employment by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, including both the unincorporated and the incorporated self-employed, as well as data on paid employees who work for the self-employed.