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	worker wearing a respirator

Input: NIOSH Strategic Goals

The NIOSH PPT Program has developed strategic goals to guide our research, standards development, respirator certification, PPT evaluation, and partnership efforts over the next decade.

NIOSH previously used priority topic areas (e.g., traumatic injury, hearing loss) to guide research efforts. Goals take this approach a step further by identifying specific outcomes that we want to target, performance measures for evaluating progress in meeting the outcome goals, and intermediate goals to describe the necessary steps that need to be performed to accomplish the goal. Setting goals is challenging because:

  • It forces us to focus on a subgroup of issues where we think NIOSH can make an impact--a long list would spread our resources too thin to accomplish the goals. Not every worthwhile topic can be included.
  • It is difficult to develop performance measures. Available injury statistics have limitations, and exposure and health outcome measures are typically not available.
  • It is ambitious for NIOSH to set goals to achieve outcomes such as reductions in a national fatality rate. NIOSH is a research agency so we don't often directly influence outcomes--we must partner well and influence other groups to show results.

NIOSH Program Portfolio Approach

NIOSH has been organizing research, guidance, information, and service efforts into specific programs that can be readily communicated and strategically governed and evaluated. Ten Sector Programs represent industrial sectors, and twenty-four Cross-sector Programs organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs and global efforts.

The Sector Programs intersect with Cross-Sector Programs in a matrix-like fashion. For example, a Construction Sector Program goal of reducing worker deaths and injuries due to motor-vehicle crashes would likely be a shared goal with the Traumatic Injury Cross-Sector Program and if appropriate would be adopted by both programs. This approach provides an added advantage and will allow multiple programs to work towards accomplishing intersecting goals.

Each of the 34 programs in the NIOSH Program Portfolio has a manager and coordinator. Each of the ten Sector Programs will have a NORA Sector Council to engage external stakeholders in the process of developing sector program goals and methods to measure the short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes arising from those goals. Each of the 24 Cross-Sector Programs will have a Steering Committee which will also develop program goals and monitor outcome measures.

These planning efforts will position NIOSH to align with the most current governmental approaches for evaluating program effectiveness, i.e., the Program Assessment Rating Tool or PART. PART is a mechanism to hold governmental agencies accountable for accomplishing results. As part of our comprehensive approach to performance measurement, NIOSH has engaged the National Academies to independently evaluate our sector and cross-programs for relevance and impact.

PPT Cross-Sector Program Goals for Intramural Research

Each strategic goal is divided into intermediate goals, as outlined below. Specific performance measures associated with each goal are being established.

Strategic Goal 1: Reduce Exposure to Inhalation Hazards

Intermediate Objective 1.1: Manufacturers will design and manufacture NIOSH approved respirators in facilities adhering to a NIOSH approved quality plan.

Intermediate Objective 1.2: : PPT users will notify NIOSH to investigate potential conformance issues with NIOSH approved respirators.

Intermediate Objective 1.3: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will incorporate requirements to include NIOSH approved respirators in grant applications requesting respiratory protective equipment.

Intermediate Objective 1.4: Workers will use NIOSH approved respirators to protect themselves from inhalation hazards when other effective controls are not sufficient.

Intermediate Objective 1.5: OSHA will conduct an inspection program to monitor and report compliance with national respiratory protection standards.

Intermediate Objective 1.6: Standard Development Organizations will incorporate NIOSH approved respirators as the respiratory protective component in standards for protective ensembles.

Intermediate Objective 1.7: Standard Development Organizations, including: NFPA, ANSI, ASTM, and ISO, will use NIOSH research outputs to support improved respirator standards.

Intermediate Objective 1.8: Manufacturers will use NIOSH developed test methods for evaluating their product performance against inhalation hazards.

Intermediate Objective 1.9: MSHA will notify registered SCSR users of issues identified by NIOSH post certification activities.

Intermediate Objective 1.10: MSHA and other federal and state regulators will use research and development outputs to advance state of the art closed circuit breathing systems for escape from hazardous areas.

Intermediate Objective 1.12: Standards development organizations will use research outputs to improve systems and test methods to support improved respirator designs.

Intermediate Objective 1.13: Standards Development Organizations will incorporate anthropometric research findings in appropriate standards.

Intermediate Objective 1.14: China and other countries will use PPT Program anthropometric research data to establish respirator fit test panels.

Intermediate Objective 1.15: NIOSH, CDC, WHO, OSHA, FDA and other federal agencies will use NIOSH research outputs to develop scientific recommendations on the reuse of respirators and the risks of handling contaminated respirators.

Intermediate Objective 1.16: Individuals and organizations within the healthcare community commit to creating an enhanced workplace safety culture.

Intermediate Objective 1.17: NIOSH research outputs are used by manufacturers to develop better respirators for the specific needs of health care workers (HCWs).

Intermediate Objective 1.18: Workers (e.g. Veterans Health Administration and health care workers (HCW) (public and private)) use respirators with improved design features and protections.

Intermediate Objective 1.19: Workers will use respirators with improved design features and protections.

Strategic Goal 2: Reduce Exposure to Dermal Hazards

Intermediate Objective 2.1: Workers who rely on PPT will use protective clothing to reduce exposure to dermal hazards including thermal, biological, particulate, chemical and other dermal hazards.

Intermediate Objective 2.2: Manufacturers and Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) will use NIOSH research outputs to develop new equipment designs, test methods, and standards to improve protective clothing testing and use practices to reduce worker exposure to dermal hazards.

Intermediate Objective 2.4: Employers and employees in all sectors will use chemical protective clothing (CPC) to reduce exposure to chemical hazards.

Intermediate Objective 2.6: Government agencies, standards development organizations, protective clothing manufacturers, and professional organizations will use predictive models to improve and/or develop scientifically appropriate guidance documents, protective clothing performance requirements, and test methods.

Strategic Goal 3: Reduce Exposure to Injury Hazards

Intermediate Objective 3.1: : NIOSH and other Government agencies and occupational safety professionals will work together to advance PPT research to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities associated with hazards for which effective engineering controls are not available.

Intermediate Objective 3.2: NIOSH and other Government agencies, manufacturers of safety equipment, and standard committees will establish anthropometric research databases and update sizing systems for various PPT design applications.

Intermediate Objective 3.3: PPE manufacturers, standards development organizations, and occupational safety professionals will work with NIOSH to transfer research results to PPE designs and PPE use guidance to reduce the risk of injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Intermediate Objective 3.4: Industries, employers and workers will expand awareness on evidence-based PPT for injury hazard protection and make tangible commitments to adopt effective PPT and communications materials in practice.

Intermediate Objective 3.5: Government agencies, equipment manufacturers, standard development organizations, insurance companies, safety research organizations, and public safety employers will identify, characterize, and reduce fatal and serious injuries, associated with “insufficient” PPE, to a lower level among public safety services workers.

Strategic Goal 4: Address Broad-Based PPT Issues

Intermediate Objective 4.1: NIOSH surveillance partners and stakeholders will gather systematic PPE and PPT related data in their surveillance systems.

Intermediate Objective 4.2: AIHA and other associations will use NIOSH research outputs to develop recommendations and guidance on PPE for workers handling nanoparticles.

Intermediate Objective 4.3: Worker communities will use NIOSH research outputs to create and enhance a culture of safety in the workplace.

Intermediate Objective 4.4: Standards development organizations will use NIOSH research outputs to develop test methods to evaluate the integration and interoperability of PPT components to improve usability of PPE across all workforce sectors.

Intermediate Objective 4.5: NIOSH stakeholders and partners will offer on-line training courses (incorporating PPE/PPT content) to enhance workplace safety and health knowledge across industry sectors.

Intermediate Objective 4.6: NIOSH stakeholders and partners will introduce PPT curriculum into their programs and use NIOSH research and guidance outputs to provide occupational safety and health professionals and HCWs with relevant PPT training materials.

Intermediate Objective 4.7: Manufacturers will incorporate sensor technologies in PPE to provide information regarding use and function of PPT.

Intermediate Objective 4.8: Standards development organizations will develop standards and test methods to assess the functionality of sensing technologies.

Intermediate Objective 4.9: NIOSH OD, PPT Program external stakeholders, and PPT Program personnel will determine a strategy for non-respiratory PPE, including the managing of research and standards development activities, and the providing of oversight for its certification, based on recommendations from the IOM workshop.

Intermediate Objective 4.10: The extramural research community engages in directed PPT research and surveillance.

Tactical Approaches for Accomplishing Goals

The tactical approaches for accomplishing the strategic goals fall into four categories: conduct research; develop standards; certify and evaluate equipment; and conduct outreach programs and activities are further described here:

  • Conduct research on PPE and PPT. This approach involves the creation and management of a comprehensive research program to address inhalation, dermal, and injury hazard knowledge gaps and improve existing technologies to reduce exposure to the hazards.
  • Develop standards for PPE and PPT. This approach aims to support the development of PPT standards and test methods to improve the quality, protection, and performance through all PPE lifecycle stages to reduce exposure to inhalation, dermal and injury hazards.
  • Certify respiratory protective equipment and evaluate personal protective equipment. This approach aims to provide quality PPT/PPE evaluation services, recommendations and respirator certification services to enable the availability of effective PPE.
  • Conduct outreach programs for optimal use and acceptance of PPE by workers. This approach involves the development and utilization of effective communication tools and outreach techniques to ensure appropriate respiratory protection inputs to all PPT Program activities and useable outputs (products and services) and outcomes (results) to all stakeholders.

PPT Program Priority Strategic Goals for Extramural Research

The NIOSH PPT Program selected the following strategic goals as particularly suited for extramural research during fiscal years 2014-16:

  • Strategic Goal 1: Reduce Exposure to Inhalation Hazards.
  • Strategic Goal 4: Address Broad-Based PPT Issues.

Those seeking NIOSH grants to conduct studies related to the PPT Program can view the current funding opportunities .

NIOSH is interested in your opinions about the relevance and value of strategic goals for the Personal Protective Technology Program. We encourage you to consider partnering with us on issues of interest to you and your organization.