11.3 Certified Product Investigation Program11.2 Respirator Standards Development | 11.4 Web mail and X4000 Calls
Since July 1, 1982, the respirator program has been investigating reports of problems with MSHA/NIOSH and NIOSH certified respirators. These reports are from NIOSH audits of certified respirators, from regulatory agencies, and from users and manufacturers of respirators. Investigations have been systematically tracked since 1996, and total 350 investigations as of May 2006. The total includes # fatalities of employees who were wearing self-contained breathing apparatus at the time of their deaths.
The goals of the program are to increasingly justify the user’s reliance on the NIOSH respirator certification program and to indicate to respirator manufacturers that NIOSH is sincere in its desire to increase the safety and reliability of certified respirators.
The protocol for handling a field report on a NIOSH-certified respiratory product consists of the following:
The primary role of NIOSH in a field report investigation is to monitor the manufacturer’s corrective actions. If the manufacturer cannot appropriately resolve the report, then NIOSH will offer them technical assistance. If necessary, and on rare occasion, NIOSH will take the actions necessary and within its power, to protect the worker. Such actions can include requiring the manufacturer to recall and appropriately retrofit their products, and requiring the manufacturer to stop the sale of the product as being NIOSH certified.
350 investigations were conducted between 1996 and May, 2006.
The respirator program and manufacturers work closely to resolve and correct performance failures and other issues associated with product. NIOSH encourages users to contact NIOSH and the manufacturers concerning problems with NIOSH certified respirators.