Workshop Examines Use and Effectiveness of PAPRs in Healthcare

A report released Jan. 6 details the presentations, discussions, and outcomes of a workshop convened last year to help prioritize and accelerate NIOSH activities to update certification requirements for powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) for use in healthcare. The workshop was convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the request of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) at NIOSH, which has sponsored the IOM Standing Committee on Personal Protective Equipment for Workplace Safety and Health since 2005. 

The report cites 2009’s H1N1 influenza pandemic and the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa as events that have highlighted the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and how best to ensure effective use of PPE to promote occupational health and safety and reduce disease transmission in healthcare settings. Representatives from government agencies, healthcare institutions, professional associations, device manufacturers, and health worker unions attended the workshop.
The workshop report summarizes the discussions on current standards and regulations related to PAPRs; the experiences of healthcare and emergency response workers relevant to PAPRs; perspectives of employers; and the design and research needs for PAPRs intended for use by healthcare workers.
Topics of discussion at the workshop included improving PAPR design and standards by assessing risks and protective factors; increasing education and training; and strengthening implementation and use of PAPRs in healthcare.
The workshop summary is available to read online for free on the National Academies Press website. A free PDF download is also available.

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