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Evaluation of Minnesota and Illinois hospital respiratory protection programs and healthcare worker respirator use.

Brosseau LM; Conroy LM; Sietsema M; Cline K; Durski K
J Occup Environ Hyg 2015 Jan; 12(1):1-15
The objective of this study was to assess respiratory protection programs for aerosol-transmissible diseases in acute care hospitals for conformance with regulatory requirements and public health guidelines. Twenty-eight representative hospitals were selected by size, location and ownership in Minnesota and Illinois. Interviews were conducted with 363 healthcare workers and 171 managers from high-risk departments. Written programs from each hospital were reviewed for required elements. Seventy-seven healthcare workers were observed donning and donning a FFR. The most serious deficiency in many written programs was failure to identify a program administrator. Most written programs lacked adequate details about medical evaluation, fit testing and training and did not include a comprehensive risk assessment for aerosol transmissible diseases; tuberculosis was often the only pathogen addressed. Employees with the highest probability of tuberculosis exposure were most likely to pick a respirator for close contact, but higher levels of respiratory protection were rarely selected for aerosolgenerating procedures. Surgical masks were most commonly selected for close contact with droplet disease- or influenza-infected patients; better protection (e.g. respirator) was rarely selected for higher risk exposures. Most of the observed healthcare workers had access to a NIOSH-certified N95 FFR, properly positioned the facepiece and formed the nose clip. The most frequent deficiencies were failure to correctly place straps, perform a user seal check and remove the respirator using straps.
Respiration; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Aerosols; Aerosol-particles; Diseases; Medical-facilities; Public-health; Humans; Men; Women; Health-care-personnel; Workers; Risk-factors; Training; Infectious-diseases; Viral-infections; Viral-diseases; Author Keywords: Respiratory protection; Healthcare; Aerosol transmissible disease
Lisa M. Brosseau, ScD, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis MN 55455
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Grant; Contract
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008672; Contract-254-2010-36476; M062014
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
University of Illinois at Chicago
Page last reviewed: September 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division