In September 2004, NIOSH requested that the National Academies conduct evaluation reviews of specific NIOSH programs to assess the relevance and the impact of the work of NIOSH in reducing workplace injury and illness. Further, NIOSH requested that each evaluation study committee be asked to assess and identify emerging research issues for that program and to provide recommendations for program improvement. In response, a set of evaluation studies is being conducted by ad hoc committees of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC). Each committee evaluation is using a similar methodology and framework (Appendix A) developed by the National Academies’ Committee to Review NIOSH Research Programs. The framework aims to provide a consistent format across the set of evaluation studies.

The Personal Protective Technology Program was one of the programs selected by NIOSH to be included in this series of reviews. In July 2007 the Institute of Medicine and the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Research Council formed the Committee to Review the NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program. The committee included members with expertise in occupational health, emergency response, health care, personal protective equipment manufacturing, employee organizations, respiratory protection, dermal protection, injury protection, and program evaluation.

The committee was tasked with reviewing the NIOSH PPT Program and evaluating the program’s relevance to and impact on occupational health and safety. The task of this committee was slightly modified in comparison with the other evaluation committees, so that it included the charge to review the respirator certification program and the standards development efforts of the PPT Program, in addition to reviewing the PPT-related research programs.

Specifically the committee was asked to provide the following:

  • Assessments of the program’s contribution1 to reductions in workplace hazardous exposures, illnesses, or injuries through

    • an assessment of the relevance of the program’s activities to the improvement of occupational safety and health, and

    • an evaluation of the impact that the program has had in reducing work-related hazardous exposures, illnesses, and injuries


Because of the addition of the certification and standards elements of the PPT Program, this evaluation also considers additional outcomes such as adoption of new technologies and changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

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