Was wearing a respirator on my job last week because the painters were painting the roof deck in a Bassett Furniture show room.
OSHA came on the job because of an accident that caused a death.
Got busted because me and my crew were not properly trained on how to clean, store, and wear the respirator. Also need to perform a seet test with a hood and use a chemical to make sure there are no leaks. Also need to have a phisical with your doctor to make sure your lungs are strong enough to use a respirator.
The rubber band masks would of been fine to use even though you could still smell the paint.
This was a mis-application of a rule that applies to breathing devices, such as the "Scott air-pac", and such. I hope you were not issued a formal citation. It sounds like you were trying to do 'the right thing.'
Your defense is to show that you complied with the manufacturers' instructions, and that the equipment was appropriate for the hazard.
OSHA leans very heavily toward "training" and "documentation" citations- they're so much easier to issue! And, when there's an injury (or complaint), there is a real desire to generate paper as a way to show the "did their job."
I was on a job where a guy got very- and I mean very- badly cut by a piece of sheet metal. I was frankly amazed he made it across the plant without dying first. The next day, when the inspectors came, there was still the blood trail- looked like a painted line- wherever he had gone. As you might guess, this got the foreman in a bit of trouble. As soon as the inspectors left, we had a "safety meeting." The new rule: If you get cut- DON'T BLEED ON THE FLOOR! Yes, he was serious- but we couldn't keep from laughing anyway!
Sole proprietorship. There is no employer- employee relationship. This loosen's OSHA's noose alot. I got this strait from an OSHA big whip who was giving a seminar in our area once. He did not really want to answer my question about are OSHA rules applicable to sole prop's who have no employee's, but finally said if no employer-employee relationship exists, then they have no juristiction.
Where I worked last this is how we applied the rule... If you were required to work in a place where a respirator was needed to protect you then you were required to have the seal test and "huff" testing, as well as the proper respirator provided to you. On the other hand if the conditions didn't warrant (read "below acceptable concentration / time limits") then it was the employee's option to wear one or not and the employeer didn't have to provide the equipment. Training was required in either case and if you weren't required to wear one you could still get the seal and huff test done.
Perhaps a little too loose after reading 1910.134.a.2 and 1910.134.c.2.
I think this is just an indication of how OSHA works. They don't do much inspecting until there is an accident and then everyone gets a ticket. That was the context of the "hard hat expiration" message I posted. It is one more ticket they can write when they start running out of things to cite. The term the OSHA road show guy used was "piling on" the fines when they are spanking a contractor with an injury/death.