Recommendation 1: Implement and Sustain a Comprehensive National Personal Protective Technology Program
NIOSH should work to ensure the implementation of the 2001 congressional mandate for a comprehensive state-of-the-art federal program focused on personal protective technology. A comprehensive program would build on the current NIOSH PPT Program and would bring unified responsibility and oversight to all PPT-related activity at NIOSH. The National Personal Protective Technology Program should
Oversee, coordinate, and where appropriate, conduct research across all types of occupational PPT and across all relevant occupations and workplaces;
Participate in policy development and standards setting across all types of occupational PPT;
Oversee all PPT certification in order to ensure a minimum uniform standard of protection and wearability. The National Program should collaborate with other relevant government agencies, private-sector organizations, and not-for-profit organizations to conduct an assessment of the certification mechanisms needed to ensure the efficacy of all types of PPT; and
Promote the development, standards setting, and certification of effectively integrated PPT components and ensembles in which multiple types of PPT (e.g., eye protection, hearing protection, respirators) can be effectively and seamlessly worn together.
The committee was struck by the discordance between the congressional mandate1 to establish the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
Senate Report 106-293 stated “It has been brought to the Committee’s attention the need for design, testing and state-of-the-art equipment for this nation’s 50 million miners, firefighters, healthcare, agricultural and industrial workers…. The Committee encourages NIOSH to carry out research, testing and related activities aimed at protecting workers, who respond to public health needs in the event of a terrorist incident. The Committee encourages CDC [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to organize and implement a national personal protective equipment laboratory.”