CERTIFYING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
IMPROVING WORKER SAFETY
Howard J. Cohen and Catharyn T. Liverman, Editors
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was requested by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and supported by Award No. 200-2005-10881, T.O. #9, between the National Academy of Sciences and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.
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Cover credit: Photo of firefighters reprinted with permission from MSA – The Safety Company.
Suggested Citation: IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2011. Certifying personal protective technologies: Improving worker safety. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON THE CERTIFICATION OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
HOWARD J. COHEN (Chair), Professor of Occupational Safety and Health,
Emeritus, University of New Haven
ROGER L. BARKER, Professor,
North Carolina State University
JANICE COMER BRADLEY, Executive Vice President,
Waste Equipment Technology Association, Washington, DC
BARBARA J. BURGEL, Clinical Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing,
University of California, San Francisco
MICHAEL EASTERBROOK, Professor of Ophthalmology,
University of Toronto
CHRISTINA EGAN, Director,
Biodefense Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany
ALEXANDER ISAKOV, Executive Director,
Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
SUNDARESAN JAYARAMAN, Professor,
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
JAMES S. JOHNSON, Consultant,
JSJ and Associates, Pleasanton, California
MELISSA A. MCDIARMID, Director,
Occupational Health Program, University of Maryland
JAMES W. PLATNER, Associate Director,
CPWR–Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, Maryland
ANUGRAH SHAW, Professor,
University of Maryland–Eastern Shore
TANYA WANCHEK, Health Economist,
Center for Economic and Policy Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
SAMUEL E. WEHR, Consultant in Survival and Flotation Technology, Standards and Regulations Manager,
Mustang Survival Corporation, Woodbridge, Virginia
CATHARYN T. LIVERMAN, Study Director
ANDREW M. POPE, Board on Health Sciences Policy Director
SARAH L. HANSON, Associate Program Officer (through July 2010)
JUDITH L. ESTEP, Program Associate
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Jacqueline Agnew, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Paul Citron, Medtronic, Inc. (Retired)
Richard M. Duffy, International Association of Fire Fighters
Patricia A. Gleason, Safety Equipment Institute
Jimmy Perkins, University of Texas Health Science Center
Daniel K. Shipp, International Safety Equipment Association
Debra Stoe, Department of Justice
Jeffrey O. Stull, International Personnel Protection, Inc.
Paul F. Vinger, Lexington Eye Associates
Sharon Welbel, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by
Richard Merrill, University of Virginia, and Edward B. Perrin, University of Washington. Appointed by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Conformity assessment is key to ensuring that the products we purchase are effective and perform to specifications; as users we are not expected to know or be engaged in the actual intricacies of how products are tested and verified to make sure that they meet performance requirements. This report focuses on conformity assessment for occupational personal protective technologies (PPT)—ensuring that PPT are effective in preventing or reducing hazardous exposures or situations that workers face in their jobs. Because respirators already have an extensive testing and conformity assessment process in place, the charge to this committee was to address conformity assessment processes for other types of PPT, including eye and face protection, gloves, hearing protectors, and protective clothing.
The impetus for this study comes from the recommendations of a 2009 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council report that reviewed the PPT Program at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The report identified gaps and inconsistencies in the certification and other conformity assessment processes for non-respirator PPT and urged that this issue be further explored.
As the committee surveyed the current state of conformity assessment for PPT products, it became evident that a number of varied approaches are currently in place with the involvement of multiple organizations and federal agencies. Processes differed in the rigor of the testing, the extent of independent third-party involvement in the process, requirements for quality manufacturing processes, and follow-up efforts to identify post-marketing concerns. The need for a greater emphasis on a consistent and risk-based approach to PPT conformity assessment was identified as a priority by the committee. In workplaces where there are
greater risks to the health and safety of the worker if the PPT product does not perform effectively, increased levels of involvement and requirements for independent third-party testing and certification are deemed appropriate.
The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) has a unique role to play as the nation’s focal point for occupational PPT. NPPTL staff’s depth of expertise is being used effectively in respirator testing and certification and in standards development efforts for non-respirator PPT. This expertise can be leveraged by increased collaborations with other federal agencies and organizations to enhance PPT conformity assessment efforts and by NPPTL serving as a central repository for research and dissemination of PPT conformity assessment information.
In exploring conformity assessment processes and the standards behind them, the committee had the opportunity to engage in discussions with a number of dedicated professionals in government agencies and in the private sector who work to develop and improve product standards and conformity assessment processes. The committee learned a great deal from its April 2010 workshop and in other conversations and greatly appreciates the time and effort that the workshop presenters, study sponsors, and many others provided in informing this study.
This report reflects the hard work and careful considerations of a dedicated committee. I want to thank each committee member and the IOM staff members for working first to get a handle on this complex topic and then to carefully consider and discuss the many facets of this issue.
The committee hopes this report will be a step forward in improving worker safety and health by ensuring consistent and rigorous testing of PPT products, thorough verification that products meet the performance criteria, and transparent and widespread dissemination of information on certified products.
Howard J. Cohen, Chair
Committee on the Certification of Personal Protective Technologies
AAMI Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation
AIHA American Industrial Hygiene Association
ANSI American National Standards Institute
ASSE American Society of Safety Engineers
ASTM originally, the American Society for Testing and Materials, now ASTM International
BVP Bulletproof Vest Partnership
CBRN chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CEL Certified Equipment List
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CPSC Consumer Product Safety Commission
CSA Canadian Standards Association
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DoD Department of Defense
DOJ Department of Justice
DOL Department of Labor
EC European Commission
EEC European Economic Community
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
EU European Union
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulations
FDA Food and Drug Administration
FFFIPP Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program
GAO Government Accountability Office (prior to 2004, General Accounting Office)
HECC Hockey Equipment Certification Council
HEROES Homeland Emergency Response Operational and Equipment Systems
HHE Health Hazard Evaluation
HHS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
IAB InterAgency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability
IAFF International Association of Fire Fighters
IEC International Electrotechnical Commission
IOM Institute of Medicine
ISEA International Safety Equipment Association
ISO International Organization for Standardization
MAUDE Manufacturer and User Device Experience
MedSun FDA Medical Product Safety Network
MedWatch FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program
MSHA Mine Safety and Health Administration
NCSCI National Center for Standards and Certification Information
NEISS National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
NFPA National Fire Protection Association
NIJ National Institute of Justice
NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
NLECTC National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center
NORA National Occupational Research Agenda
NPPTL National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
NRC National Research Council
NRR noise reduction rating
NRTL Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories
NTTAA National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
NVFC National Volunteer Fire Council
NVLAP National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PFD personal flotation device
PMA premarket approval application
PPE personal protective equipment
PPT personal protective technologies
QA quality assurance
SCBA self-contained breathing apparatus
SCSR self-contained self-rescuer (respirator)
SEI Safety Equipment Institute
SENSOR Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks
UL Underwriters Laboratories
USBM U.S. Bureau of Mines
USCG U.S. Coast Guard
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture