NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program Offers Expansion Plan
NIOSH announced it will accept stakeholders' comments until April 20 on a new Personal Protective Technology Implementation Plan that was developed in response to five recommendations from the National Academies for enhancing the impact and relevance of the PPT program's work. PPT, a NIOSH initiative begun in 2005 and headed by National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory Director Les Boord, is concerned mainly with approving (certifying) respirators that are worn by workers. It is researching PPE's ability to protect workers against nanoparticles.
The draft plan, however, would expand NPPTL's work and role significantly. It contemplates certification of protective garments, gloves, and footwear and beginning research programs for garments, footwear, hearing protection, and fall protection. While the program participates in the development of consensus standards in some of these areas, the plans indicates its personnel would participate in policy and standards development for protective garments and footwear.
Boord's announcement said the 45-page plan was generated "bottom-up" through the efforts of a broad cross-section of PPT Program employees. The program asks stakeholders to review the plan to ensure gaps have been identified, activities to meet the gaps are prioritized, and the plans for transitioning R&D into operational entities are developed. Specific questions are:
- Overall, do the issues identified for each recommendation represent a reasonable program approach for developing the intent of the recommendations?
- Will the approach described in Recommendation 1 enable the PPT Program to continue on a path to fulfilling its mission of preventing work-related injury, illness, and death by advancing the state of knowledge and application of personal protective technologies and the vision described in the NA PPT Evaluation Report?
- Do the activities described under Recommendation 2 provide a feasible approach for enhancing the extramural component of the PPT Program?
- Does the enhanced respirator certification program described under Recommendation 3 provide a feasible approach for enhancing the current program?
- Does the plan effectively respond to Recommendation 4 in its approach to expand its research function?
- Is the PPT Program approach for surveillance discussed for Recommendation 5 a reasonable approach to acquire data-driven input to help guide the Program?
After final approval, the plan will be updated annually and serve as the foundation for the NPPTL and PPT Program Strategic Plans.
To comment on the plan, send an e-mail to [email protected] and reference Docket: NIOSH-146/PPT Action Planning.