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Improved criteria for emergency medical protective clothing.

Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Contract-214-2006-M-15870, 2008 Aug; :1-170
Requirements for personal protective equipment used by emergency medical personnel have been established in National Fire Protection Association Standard (NFPA) number 1999, Standard on Protective Clothing for Emergency Medicals Operations. The standard was first introduced in 1992 in response to OSHA's bloodborne pathogen regulations provided in 29 CFR Part 1910.1030. Originally, NFPA 1999 set criteria that applied to garments, gloves, and eye/face protection devices. In subsequent editions, distinctions were made between single and reusable garments on the basis of preconditioning by washing for reusable garments; in addition, the types of products covered by NFPA 1999 were expanded to address other items, including cleaning gloves, work gloves, footwear, and footwear covers. While the standard has been accepted within the emergency medical industry for some product areas (primarily reusable garments and examination gloves), there have been no certifications of cleaning gloves or single use protective garments. In addition, there has been relatively little industry response to eye/face protection devices, work gloves, and footwear. Feedback from industry has indicated that some of the criteria did not match the types of products that first responders typically use or need. It was also discovered that certain criteria in the current 2003 edition were actually mutually exclusive and prevented the certification of products. A detailed review of shortcomings in the standard identified cleaning gloves, single use garments, eye/face protection devices, footwear covers, helmets, visibility markings, and flammability criteria as areas of concern. A research project was undertaken to investigate emergency medical PPE needs and to establish meaningful and appropriate criteria that became part of the newly revised NFPA 1999 (2008 Edition) standard. The research project included a detailed hazard assessment based on end user input, a review of industry products, the identification of product performance needs, the selection of test methods for evaluating products consistent with end user expectations, and the recommendation of design and performance criteria to establish appropriate levels of protection for workers engaged in emergency medical operations. The recommended criteria and test methods were incorporated by the NFPA into the 2008 Edition of NFPA 1999. As a consequence of this research program, the revised NFPA 1999 permits the certification of more types of protective clothing that will more closely fit the needs and requirements of first responders during emergency medical operations. In order to provide support to the NFPA Technical Committee on Emergency Medical Operations Protective Clothing and Equipment, a series of investigations was undertaken to provide the basis for recommending specific, appropriate criteria for the protection of first responders during emergency medical operations. These investigations determined the specific hazards faced by first responders, identified the features and properties of specific PPE that protect against these hazards, and involved testing of products to assist in setting performance requirements. The specific steps of this process included: 1. Determining first responder needs specific to cleaning gloves, single use garments, footwear covers, and eye/face protection devices by listing specific hazards faced by first responders during emergency medical operations and PPE product features that are needed for EMS responder protection. 2. Identifying current products in use or products that could be used that first responders considered acceptable and unacceptable as a range of products for evaluation. 3. Determining the specific properties associated with single use garments, cleaning gloves, footwear covers, and eye/face protection devices that would be assessed or measured for providing protection against the specific hazards identified during the industry review. 4. Selecting available test methods that were investigated to assess or measure the specific properties identified above with the determination of the parameters associated with those test methods and necessary modifications to apply the specific test methods to the selected emergency medical protective clothing. 5. Establishing a test plan to evaluate the selected EMS PPE products by means of the chosen test methods and evaluation procedures. 6. Carrying out the test plan and analyzing the findings from the testing in order to determine the discrimination of product performance consistent with field expectations; tests were modified as needed to obtain appropriate levels of product discrimination. 7. Preparing recommended design assessment and performance criteria to address the specific hazards, performance properties, and test methods reviewed in this study. 8. Documenting study findings in this final report. The results of this project in terms of recommended criteria and supporting documentation were provided to the NFPA Technical Committee on Emergency Medical Operations Protective Clothing and Equipment and extensively assisted this committee with their revision of the NFPA 1999 standard. Specific junctures in the standards development process were used to provide input in terms of public proposals and comments that fall within the study's period of performance. Input from this project enabled the correction of key problems and the addition of new criteria to promote appropriate levels of protective clothing for emergency medical personnel.
Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-clothing; Protective-equipment; Eye-protection; Gloves; Skin-protection; Face-masks; Face-shields; Clothing; Emergency-equipment; Emergency-response; Fire-protection-equipment; Footwear; Safety-equipment; Standards; Medical-equipment; Fire-resistant-materials; Safety-clothing; Safety-helmets; Visual-aids
International Personnel Protection, Inc., P. O. Box 92493, Austin, TX 78709-2493
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Contract Report
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Source Name
Improved Criteria for Emergency Medical Protective Clothing
Performing Organization
International Personnel Protection, Inc., Austin, Texas
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division