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Protective Technology Program at NIOSH

The Protective Technology Program is to prevent work-related injury, illness, and death by advancing the state of knowledge and application of personal protective technologies (PPT).

NIOSH has established an internal team of researchers, scientists, and management personnel to lead the strategic planning activities, program development, and monitoring to sustain the PPT Program.

National Academy of Sciences Interface of Activities

Institute of Medicine Committee on Personal Protective Equipment for Workplace Safety and Health provides liaison and oversight to ad hoc study committees requested by NIOSH and approved by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academies as well as coordinates with other Academies’ activities. View meeting information and topics of discussion [PDF - 50 KB].

Preventing Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and other Viral Respiratory Diseases: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Personnel, Update 2010 (2011). This report is an update to assess progress achieved over the past three years and is available for download at no cost.


Programs

NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program Portfolio
The Personal Protective Technology Program review was initiated in September 2007 and the report delivered June 25, 2008.

DRAFT of the NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program Plan to Implement the National Academies Evaluation Recommendations
In fiscal year (FY) 2001, the U.S. Congress allocated funds to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop standards and technologies for protecting the health and safety of America’s workers who rely on personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, clothing, gloves, hard hats, eye and hearing protective devices with an emphasis on emergency responders.

IOM Report - Preventing Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Diseases: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Personnel Update 2010 (January 2011)
In 2009, the H1N1 influenza pandemic brought to the forefront the many unknowns about the virulence, spread, and nature of the virus, as well as questions regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare personnel. In light of unanswered research questions following this pandemic, NPPTL asked the IOM to assess the progress of PPE research and to identify future directions for PPE for healthcare personnel.

IOM Report – Certifying Personal Protective Technologies: Improving Worker Safety (2010)
In 2009, NIOSH requested the IOM assess the certification mechanisms needed to ensure the effectiveness of non-respirator personal protective technologies (PPT) as recommended by the National Academies (NA) Evaluation of the PPT Program.

IOM Report - Preparing for an Influenza Pandemic: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers (2008)
In 2007, NIOSH requested the Institute of Medicine (IOM) investigate the urgent need to address the lack of preparedness regarding effective PPE for use in an influenza pandemic.

Respiratory Protection for Healthcare Workers in the Workplace Against Novel H1N1 Influenza A: A Letter Report
This new report from the Institute of Medicine recommends strategies for health care organizations and employees to prepare for the H1N1 virus. These recommendations include wearing fitted N95 respirators to guard against respiratory infection by the virus, and establishing policies for innovative triage processes, handwashing, disinfection, and more.


Program Review

Overview of the Personal Protective Technology Program at NIOSH [PDF 1.9 MB]
A presentation by Leslie Boord, Program Manager, and Maryann D’Alessandro, Program Coordinator, Personal Protective Technology Program, September, 2007.

Personal Protective Technology Program Evidence Package
Materials submitted from the program to its NA evaluation committee. Includes PPT Program history, strategic goals, funding, staff and operational logic model, and discusses the intermediate goals, associated issues, external factors, approach, outputs, and outcomes for each strategic goal. Submitted September, 2007.

The Personal Protective Technology Program at NIOSH
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2008 Sep; :1-214 
Reviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Committee to Review the NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council.

PPT Program Response to the National Academies Evaluation [PDF 715 KB]
FINAL 5.21.2010 - In fiscal year (FY) 2001, the U.S. Congress allocated funds to the National Institute for 63 Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop standards and technologies for protecting 64 the health and safety of America’s workers who rely on personal protective equipment (PPE), 65 such as respirators, clothing, gloves, hard hats, eye and hearing protective devices with an 66 emphasis on emergency responders.


Documents for Public Review and Comment


Proposed Rulemaking SCBA Remaining Service-Life Indicator – Docket open for comment

As a component of its ongoing update of respirator certification standards under Part 84 and in response to a petition to amend 42 CFR 84.83(F), HHS proposes a revision to the current requirement for open-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus (OC-SCBA) remaining service-life indicators (indicators), which are devices built into a respirator to alert the user that the breathing air provided by the respirator is close to depletion.

PPT Conformity Assessment, NIOSH Docket Number 237
NIOSH, NPPTL announces the availability of the PPT (Personal Protective Technologies) Conformity Assessment Docket, NIOSH Docket 237, and solicits input from interested parties. The docket is being established to provide interested parties the opportunity to provide input to the NIOSH, NPPTL strategy to address the recommendations issued in November 2010 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its report Certifying Personal Protective Technologies: Improving Worker Safety. The report focuses on the need for a consistent risk-based approach to PPT conformity assessment. This docket will be available until July 1, 2011. All comments will be assessed as part of the effort to address the IOM recommendations.

Personal Protective Technology (PPT) Action Planning, NIOSH Docket Number 146
NIOSH announced the opportunity for the public to comment on the draft PPT Implementation Plan, to Implement the National Academies Program Evaluation Recommendations. Though presented in a “top-down” approach of focusing on the five NA Report recommendations, this plan was generated “bottom-up” through the effort of a broad cross section of PPT Program employees. All aspects of the plan have been developed with the specific intent of managing the operations of the program against them.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Healthcare Workers Action Plan, NIOSH Docket Number 129
NIOSH announced the opportunity for the public to comment on a draft action plan document, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Healthcare Workers (HCW). The document provides a roadmap on how NIOSH/ National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) propose to address the lack of preparedness regarding effective PPE for use in an influenza pandemic. The comments and information submitted to the docket will be considered in developing the next version of this document.

Facial Anthropometrics Research Roadmap, NIOSH Docket Number 111
NPPTL responded to the IOM report by developing an action plan for addressing the issues and recommendations described in the report. The action plan will provide a long-term strategy for facial anthropometrics and respirator fit research at NPPTL. The action plan will also describe how to implement research to practice. This draft action plan was developed by:

  • analyzing the IOM recommendations to determine if existing data is available to make decisions on whether the recommendations could and/or should be implemented or not;
  • reviewing on-going and proposed NPPTL research projects; and
  • reviewing on-going research in NIOSH, academia, government, and industry related to anthropometrics and respirator fit


Respirator Fit Research

Anthropometric Data and ISO Digital Headforms
Data gathered during the NIOSH survey.

Saving Lives: Building a Better Face Mask
Video featuring NIOSH NPPTL research to build a better face mask using facial measurements.

NIOSH "No Fit Test" Respirator Research Workshop
This workshop focused on the nature and process of product innovation and development in negative pressure half-facepiece respirators to gauge the current "state of the art" and to stimulate new designs or approaches for improved respirator fit.


Studies and Evaluations

Preparing for an Influenza Pandemic: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers (2008)
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2008 Jan; :1-206 
The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a study on the personal protective equipment (PPE) (respirators, gloves, gowns, eye protection, and other equipment) needed by healthcare workers in the event of an influenza pandemic.

Assessment of the NIOSH Head-and-Face Anthropometric Survey of U.S. Respirator Users (2007)
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007 Mar; :1-108
Millions of Americans use respirators in their places of work to protect themselves from exposures to such respiratory hazards as toxic vapors and gases, harmful particulate matter, and airborne pathogens.

Measuring Respirator Use in the Workplace (2007)
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007 May; :1-81
The purpose of this survey was to evaluate respirator use and practices in the workplace to help guide NIOSH respirator certification and research.

Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu (2006)
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2006 Jul; :1-106 
Based on the assumption that efforts to produce and stockpile sufficient supplies of disposable masks and/or respirators may fall short in the event of a pandemic, the US Department of Health and Human Services requested that an IOM committee examine issues relative to the potential reuse of medical masks and N95 respirators in the event of an influenza pandemic.


Standing Committee

Institute of Medicine (IOM) Personal Protective Equipment for Workplace Safety and Health
In response to a request from NPPTL the Institute of Medicine formed a Standing Committee on Personal Protective Equipment (COPPE) for Workplace Safety and Health. This committee supplies a forum for discussion of scientific and technical issues relevant to the development, certification, deployment, and use of personal protective equipment, standards, and related systems to ensure workplace safety and health. 

The committee provides liaison and oversight to ad hoc study committees requested by NIOSH and approved by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academies. Standing committee discussions have led to the formation of a number of ad hoc committees, which have investigated topics related to personal protective equipment and authored the reports.

View the IOM Reports.


Communicating Results-Driven NIOSH Research

NIOSH partnered with the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) to provide content for AIP's "Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science" video news service. "Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science" provides short news segments for local television news stations covering innovative scientific projects and programs. In particular, the segments highlight scientific advancements that have beneficial impact for health and society. Two segments showcasing NIOSH projects being conducted at NPPTL are available for viewing at the external links below.

NIOSH research to develop a cooling suit to reduce fire fighters' risk of heat stress
Safety scientists used principles of physiology to help keep firefighters cool in the high temperature environments they often encounter.

NIOSH research to develop a system for monitoring fire fighters' vital signs
Industrial hygienists designed a flexible undergarment to take accurate readings of vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature.


Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

Respirator Usage in Private Sector Firms, 2001
NIOSH and the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a voluntary survey of U.S. employers regarding the use of respirators.

Final Manufacturer Customer Satisfaction Survey Results [PDF - 590 KB]
Customer satisfaction model, method, results, benchmark comparisons, and recommendations.

Final Manufacturer Customer Satisfaction Survey [PDF - 34 KB]
The form takes an average of 20 minutes to complete, including the time for getting the needed data and reviewing both the instructions and completed form.

Final Users Customer Satisfaction Survey [PDF - 35 KB]
The form takes an average of 20 minutes to complete, including the time for getting the needed data and reviewing both the instructions and completed form.


Other Resources

Better Respiratory Equipment using Advanced Technologies for Healthcare Employees (Project BREATHE) [PDF - 538 KB]

Long-Term Field Evaluation Program Concept

Links to Other Protective Technology Sites

 
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