In considering a data collection program for the future, the fact that NPPTL is aligning its activities along the sectoral divisions adopted by NIOSH was also considered. The NIOSH program portfolio has been organized into eight National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sectors that are rough approximations of industry sectors: agriculture, forestry, and fishing; construction; health care and social assistance; manufacturing; mining; services; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and wholesale and retail trade.
In addition, NIOSH has organized its efforts along 15 cross-sector programs, selected to emphasize health outcomes, statutory programs, and global efforts. These programs include two of direct relevance to formulating a PPE data-gathering program for the future: personal protective technology and respiratory diseases.
As described in Chapter 3, these initiatives are under the umbrella of NORA. Through NORA, NIOSH is reaching out to a community that includes public interest, employer, and employee groups as it develops its approach to a research agenda for the future. In the summer of 2006, NIOSH was hard at work to develop a baseline of occupational safety and health information used and disseminated by business associations, professional associations, and labor unions within the eight NORA industrial sectors. The goal of this project is to develop and administer a survey of business associations, professional associations, and labor organizations in the eight NIOSH industrial sectors to determine (1) occupational safety and health (OSH) information presently being disseminated by these associations and unions to their members; (2) channels of communication within the associations and unions used to disseminate OSH information; (3) their needs for specific types of OSH information, especially those needs not presently being served; (4) sources of OSH information presently used by business associations, professional associations, and labor unions; (5) OSH concerns of the associations and labor unions; (6) awareness and perception of NIOSH as a source of OSH information; (7) use of NIOSH information services (web site, printed publications, 800 number, etc.); (8) usefulness of NIOSH information to address their OSH concerns; and (9) credibility of NIOSH as a trusted source of OSH information.3 The results of this information gathering could be used by NPPTL to sharpen its research focus and develop a more effective information dissemination program.
Ultimately, NPPTL’s data needs for the future have increasingly become tactically focused on program objectives. They are more in alignment with NIOSH and NPPTL agency policy directions and more reflective of the new emphasis throughout the government on measurability, in sharp contrast to the focus on generalized public health surveillance issues of interest in the NIOSH work that preceded the SRUP (see Chapter 2). The data needs will focus more on outcomes that will inform NPPTL’s regulatory or certification and research priorities.
As it adopts this new emphasis, it is expected that NPPTL data collection will extend beyond basic research, embodied in the SRUP, which provides important baseline data focused on employer respiratory protection programs. Likewise, while NPPTL may make recommendations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) based on SRUP data to assist in enforcement targeting or regulatory changes to improve employer respiratory protection program compliance, enforcement data are unlikely to constitute the principal focus of future NPPTL data collec-