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Role of workplace testing of respirators as a condition of certification for the federally mandated NIOSH respiratory protective equipment certification program.

Ettinger HJ
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Purchase Order No. 9142219, 1991 Jun; :1-14
This evaluation considered the practicality and advisability of incorporating workplace field testing as part of the formal NIOSH Respirator Certification process. According to the author, there is a need to more clearly define the objectives of the NIOSH Respirator Certification process, specifically to define more clearly the term certify. The author concludes that the definition of a single or a few representative facilities is likely to be impractical, that the impact of doing a field test will have some not yet defined effect on the measured workplace protection factors (WPF), that the lack of controls in the field will make testing reproducibility and variability unsatisfactory for use as a direct formal certification test, and that the slow rate of progress being made in developing a standard field test protocol suggests that standardization represents a potential problem. The author recommends two parallel approaches to complement certification laboratory test procedures. The first calls for NIOSH, with input from industry and manufacturers to develop a standard test protocol so that WPF can be determined under a variety of work situations using comparable test methods. Secondly, manufacturers should be required to perform some field testing which satisfies the previously published and agreed to test protocol.
NIOSH-Contract; Respiratory-protection; Safety-research; Equipment-reliability; Personal-protective-equipment; Occupational-health-programs; Respirators
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division