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BETTER RESPIRATOR EQUIPMENT USING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES FOR HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEES (Project BREATHE) - FY08

Objective

  • Respirators currently used in the healthcare industry were introduced from other industries and were not specifically designed for healthcare workers (HCW). A number of respirator characteristics may limit the HCW's performance. This project , a collaborative effort between the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and NPPTL, seeks to determine the ideal characteristics that would be required for a HCW-specific respirator with eventual prototype development/manufacture.
Healthcare workers wearing respirators

Applicable Standards

  • OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.134) for respiratory protection

Key Partners

  • Veterans Administration

 

Stakeholders

  • Healthcare workers (medical, dental, etc.)
  • Emergency Medical Services (paramedics, firefighters, private ambulance crews)
  • Respirator manufacturers

Project Scope


  • Phase 1 - Interagency Working Group formation/information exchange
  • Phase 2 - Prototype development
  • Phase 3 - Prototype bench testing (NPPTL) and human field trials (VHA)
  • Phase 4 - Commercialization (approach manufacturers)

Milestones

  • Working Group formation (Fall/Winter 2007)
  • MOU finalization (March, 2008)
  • Working Group meeting/information exchange (Spring 2008)
  • White paper development/peer-review (Spring/Summer 2008)
  • White paper publication in peer-reviewed journal (Fall 2008)

Outputs

  • Manuscript (white paper) submitted to peer-reviewed journal
  • Presentations at national/international conferences
  • Development of new HCW-specific respirator that will meet NIOSH certification criteria

Outcomes

  • The HCW-specific respirator should:
    • increase compliance with OSHA regulations
    • increase tolerance for extended wear (e.g., pandemic influenza)
    • decrease respiratory exposure to infectious agents
    • enhance HCW performance
Page last updated: August 08, 2008
Page last reviewed: August 08, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)