PPE CASE Notes
Personal Protective Equipment Conformity Assessment Studies and Evaluations (PPE CASE) Notes provide a summary of findings from our post-market personal protective equipment tests, evaluations, and investigations. These one-page summaries inform respirator users about common themes or trends we found and provide best practice reminders to prevent future occurrences.
Verifying Shelf Life for NIOSH Approved® Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) performs point-of-use (i.e., field location) conformity assessment studies. In a recent study, NIOSH noted numerous challenges that the PPE community experiences when trying to locate filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) shelf life information. NIOSH does not currently require approval holders to designate a shelf life for FFRs, deferring to approval holders to establish shelf life recommendations for their specific product. This PPE CASE Notes details respirator shelf life issues identified by NIOSH, what to do when shelf life information isn’t readily available, and actions that can be taken to support NIOSH’s shelf life recommendations for FFRs.
Hot Filling Hazards with SCBA Air Cylinders
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) monitors issues related to self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The NIOSH FFFIPP has identified a potential hazard associated with rapid filling of compressed breathing air cylinders and the associated latent pressure/breathing time loss. Rapidly filling a breathing air cylinder, also known as “hot filling,” generates excessive heat and can result in a loss of pressure as the cylinder cools leaving the user with reduced breathing air. Fire departments should ensure that cylinders are stored fully charged to maximize use and capacity.
Firefighter SCBA Facepiece Sizing Issues
Respirators used in the workplace need to be approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). When users experience issues with NIOSH-approved respirators, NIOSH initiates a Certified Product Investigation Process to identify the root cause and develop corrective actions. Below is an example of a past issue that NIOSH addressed through this process. This example focuses on self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepiece sizing issues within fire departments.