Certification of Personal Protective Technologies

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Biomedical and Health Research, Environmental Health, Quality and Patient Safety
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Activity Description

The Institute of Medicine has convened an expert committee to assess the certification mechanisms needed to ensure the efficacy of nonrespirator personal protective technologies (PPT).  NIOSH certification of respirators has had a significant positive impact on the quality of respirators available in the workplace;  however, there is no analogous federal process for ensuring the certification of the efficacy of nonrespirator PPT (e.g., eye protection, hearing protection, medical masks, protective clothing).

The IOM committee will examine various approaches to certification (e.g., federal laboratory certification, third-party certification, federal certification of nongovernmental laboratories) and will make recommendations on certifying non-respirator PPT. As part of its data-gathering efforts, the committee will plan and conduct a public workshop to examine various approaches used to certify the efficacy of other types of products used for protection (e.g., bulletproof vests, personal flotation devices) as well as to examine relevant standards and regulations.

The context for the study will emphasize efforts to certify personal protective technologies (other than respirators) for healthcare workers during an influenza pandemic, although the effort will be relevant to other types and uses of PPT.

A report will be issued that includes the committee's recommendations on mechanisms for certifying and ensuring the efficacy of non-respirator PPT.

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