Welcome to year two of this NIOSH-approved observance, marking N95 day as an official annual event. (We debated about decorating our offices with N95s – but that seemed a tad wasteful). To those who missed the memo last year, let us update you. Because N95 respirators are so important to the health and safety of workers in so many different industries, and because there is more to know about this personal protective device than just when to slap one on, we have dedicated a day to the promotion, celebration, dissemination, and proclamation of N95 information. This is a time to recognize the importance of respiratory protection in the workplace and familiarize yourself with the resources out there to help you make educated decisions when wearing a respirator.
Much like last year, NIOSH social media will be a-buzz promoting N95 information. If you’re on twitter, be sure to follow @NIOSH and @NPPTL, #N95 day, for the most current updates. We will also be celebrating on the NIOSH facebook page and Pinterest! (By the way, that image to the left is our Pin-tastic new infographic!)
Social media is a fantastic way to link us all together, but if it’s not really your thing, don’t worry! This blog is a great place to start gathering information. This year we’d like to take this opportunity to consolidate valuable information into a quick reference guide.
Online Reading Materials:
The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology website has a lot of information pertaining to many different kinds of personal protective equipment. So let’s cut to the chase. All you need to remember to get to the core of N95 information is: Knowits.NIOSH.gov. This shortcut link will lead you the Trust-Source page where many of your frequently asked questions will be answered. You will also find a list, updated monthly, of all NIOSH-approved N95 respirators.
Quick links to other important N95 web information:
- Respirator Awareness: Your health may depend on it– NIOSH has a brand new publication discussing respiratory protection for healthcare workers.
- The Know It’s NIOSH Lesson- In addition to the new NIOSH brochure on Respirator awareness, NIOSH has worked with the University of Pittsburgh to create an online Powerpoint lesson using this same information.
- NIOSH 42 CFR Part 84, Approval of Respiratory Protective Devices- This online document contains the actual performance requirements of respiratory protection devices.
- The Toolkit for Respiratory Protection Administrators- NIOSH teamed up with the California Department of Public Health to evaluate respirator use in hospitals during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2010-11 influenza season. The result became this guide for respiratory program administrators.
- The CDC’s Protecting Healthcare Personnel Topic Page
The CDC has developed an instructional program for the selection and use of PPE in healthcare settings, including respiratory protection.
You can find a list of more resources on the NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Respirator Topic Page!
Sometimes a visual element is exactly what we need to become engaged in a topic. That’s why the NIOSH Safety Videos channel on Youtube offers an array of great occupational health and safety clips. When it comes to N95 research and certification, this visual element is our way of inviting you into the laboratory to see how NIOSH is ensuring the quality of respirators on the market.
We wanted to provide users with an insight into what it looks like to be NIOSH-approved. So debuting today, on N95 Day, is our new Certification Video. This short look into the NIOSH respirator approval laboratory highlights the equipment and process for certifying N95 respirators.
Also found on the NIOSH Safety Videos page is a glimpse at NIOSH’s new robotic manikin headform for respirator fit evaluation research. This advancement will expand the opportunities for research into respirator inward leakage, which includes the penetration of particles through the filter itself combined with the leakage around the faceseal. This technology has the potential to aid in respirator design and contribute to the advancement of respirator certification and consensus standards. Get more information about the NIOSH Advanced Headform on the NIOSH blog!
NIOSH isn’t the only government agency with great respiratory protection information. When it comes to simple, training videos, OSHA has one of the go-to pages on the web. On this page you will find videos both in English and Spanish about:
- Respiratory Protection in General Industry
- Different Respirator types
- Respiratory Fit Testing
- Medical Evaluations for Workers Who Use Respirators
- Counterfeit and Altered Respirators: The Importance of NIOSH certification
- Donning and Doffing
- The Difference between Respirators and Surgical Masks
We hope you are celebrating along with us today, making this an opportunity to peruse our resources. Know someone who wears an N95 at work? Pass it along! Unlike the germs that respirators help to protect from – we’re hoping N95 day is contagious!
Jaclyn Krah, MA
Ms. Krah is a Health Communication Specialist in the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory.