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	worker wearing a respirator

Input: Economic Factors

Market forces, evolving technologies, structural changes, and emerging hazards and threats can affect levels of resources available for occupational safety and health initiatives within the PPT Program. Examples of programmatic economic impact include the following:

The threat of terrorism has created an immense concern about the protective capability of personal protective equipment used by the nation’s first responders, first receivers, and other workers in high-threat areas. This concern has resulted in the allocation of approximately $10 million in funding, since 2001, from both CDC and the Department of Homeland Security to develop chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) performance requirements for respirators. The PPT Program has used these funds to develop CBRN standards for self-contained breathing apparatus (CBRN SCBA), full facepiece air purifying respirators (CBRN APR), hood-type escape respirators (CBRN APER) and powered air purifying respirators (CBRN PAPR). This involved establishing test laboratories to evaluate respirators against the hazards of terrorism including chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. NIOSH has tested and approved respirators in each CBRN respirator classification.

Health and safety experts from around the world agree the threat of pandemic influenza will occur is highly likely in the coming years. Because a known vaccine for the HN51 virus does not exist, other initiatives to mitigate the effects of the deadly influenza are urgently needed. Effective use and availability of personal protective equipment are key aspects of the nation’s preparedness for a pandemic. The PPT Program received $1 million in funding for research programs to address issues relative to Pandemic Influenza Preparedness in 2007.

Nanotechnology is ever-present in the workplace and households. Little is known about the health hazards associated with nanofibers from either an inhalation or dermal perspective. In order to answer basic questions concerning the ability of NIOSH approved respirators to function against nanohazards, the PPT Program has received $50,000 in NORA funding. This funding will support much needed research to answer these basic questions concerning respiratory protection against nanoparticles.

A recent mine explosion at the ICG Sago Mine, near Buckhannon, West Virginia, highlighted the potential usefulness of longer duration self-rescuer technology. Miners there perished due to carbon monoxide poisoning after their self-rescue devices ran out of oxygen. Additional oxygen supplies may have allowed them to remain in the barricade until mine rescue teams reached them, or perhaps even to have escaped after waiting for dust and smoke to clear. Further, at recent mine disasters at Sago, Alma No. 1 and Darby Mines, all but one of the miners who perished died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Recent enacted legislation by the federal and several state governments address this problem by requiring additional supplies of breathable air for individuals trapped underground during a mine escape. However, if a miner cannot successfully make transfers from one SCSR to the next while in toxic atmospheres, this additional supply of SCSRs may not be sufficient to enable the miners to escape. Effectively transferring from one SCSR to the next may prove to be especially difficult to perform under the mental stress of the emergency event. By simplifying this task and allowing the miners to extend the useable life of the first self-rescuer they don, survivability should be greatly improved. The objective of this contract is to help develop and evaluate Person Wearable Dockable and Hybrid SCSRs that will meet the requirements of 42 CFR Part 84, Federal Mining Regulations, as well as any that will result from the recently passed Miner Act.

Market forces, structural changes, and emerging threats may affect levels of resources available for occupational safety and health initiatives within the PPT Program.

Across All Sectors

Changes in business practices have increased performance demands on businesses:

  • To remain competitive in today's global economy, businesses must be flexible in responding to demands of consumers and producers, and prepared to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • For workers, the “just-in-time” business model can mean increased stress, more shift work, and intense production demands that can compromise worker safety and health.


SCSR Vision - Realizing a New Generation of Mine Escape Respirators