Seems the average American face has changed a great deal over the past 50 or so years. Our faces are fatter (no surprise, she writes while eating Smoothie Flavored Skittles), and longer then they used to be. Additionally, people who wear these respirators vary greatly--age, gender, race, etc. So, new masks need to be designed and tested and approved.
No problem, right?
By law, all employer-supplied respirators, as these products are known, must be certified by NIOSH that they create an airtight fit on a broad range of faces.
It's the one-size-fits-all requirement. Why on earth would we have that? (Ahh, government at work.) If Bob and Carol and Jose and Xian and Fiona all have to wear a respirator day in and day out, why should Bob (a 6'4" 300 pound Jamaican) have a mask that also fits Fiona (a 5'2" female of Irish descent)? Who would think that even makes sense? Bob should get a mask that fits him and Fiona, Carol, Jose and Xian should all get ones that fit them.
Except they'd be out of compliance.
Granted, one that fits most people is a real advantage in an emergency situation. But, a mask that is worn regularly as part of a job should come in a variety of sizes. Right? Right.
So, let me ask you--how are your pay and benefits plans structured? One size fits all? Are Bob, Carol, Jose, Xian and Fiona all given the same options? Xian has small children and would prefer the option to work at home if they are sick. Jose has no problem working 60 hours a week (he's exempt, so no overtime costs), but when he wants to vacation, he wants to vacation. Can he have 3 weeks instead of 2? Bob is a very healthy single guy with no children. He would prefer a Health Savings Account to an expensive PPO.
I know, I know, these are a pain to manage. And a bigger pain to explain to all employees. But, doesn't it make sense to at least try?