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Certifying Personal Protective Technologies: Improving Worker Safety
Manufacturing systems standards such as quality control must be adequate to assure each PPT item performs at least to minimum standards;
Selection of PPT for specific work practices must conform to expected use;
Potential interference of PPT with the functions of other ensemble components or planned work tasks needs to be characterized and potential adverse impacts of PPT examined;
Use instructions, training, and supervision regarding PPT to ensure proper work practices must be addressed;
Replacement cycles, field checks, maintenance, cleaning, storage, packaging, and durability standards must assure continued field performance over the normal lifetime of the PPT;
Product labeling must be accurate;
Consumers need to be aware of any recalls due to product failure; and
Post-marketing testing and recalls must be used to correct process issues, be timely and comprehensive, and be a mechanism for continuous performance improvement.
Standards development and conformity assessment efforts may address selected aspects of these criteria in order to increase the likelihood of effective implementation and risk reduction.
This chapter explores the limited types of data that are available on the impact of PPT conformity assessment on worker safety and health. The chapter also explores issues that pose particularly challenging questions for implementing and sustaining conformity assessment processes for PPT products.
IMPACT OF CONFORMITY ASSESSMENTON SAFETY AND HEALTH
Assessing the impact of PPT use on reductions in worker injury or death can be challenging, particularly in occupations where multiple safety measures are implemented, where exposures are intermittent or variable, or where risks are poorly characterized. A greater challenge is finding data to assess the impact of PPT conformity assessment on worker safety and health. To address the question regarding the impact of con-