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Selected Category: Personal Protective Equipment

One Size Does Not Fit All

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Personal Protective Equipment, Transportation


When your safety and your life depends on it, you need your equipment to fit properly. This is especially true in the workplace. Improper fit may prevent workers from performing their job duties safely and effectively. If your respirator does not seal properly to your face, if your gloves are too big, if your seatbelt cannot buckle with your safety gear on . . . you get the picture.

Anthropometry is the science of defining human body dimensions and physical characteristics. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts anthropometric research to prevent work-related injuries and deaths by studying how work spaces and equipment fit today’s diverse worker population. This includes the fit of machines, vehicles, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Much of the available data were collected in the 1950s and 1970s from military personnel and the general population from that era. These decades-old data do not represent, on average and collectively, the sizes and body types of today’s workers, who are much more diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity. NIOSH research has shown workers have unique shapes and sizes for specific occupations.

N95 Day 2015: The tools to build a culture of proper respiratory protection practices

Categories: Healthcare, Observances, Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators


Every day is a day to think about worker safety. But today, on our annual N95 Day (09/04/2015), we embrace our dedication to proper respiratory protection practices, shining it with a bit of elbow grease, and displaying it at the very front line of our priorities. Today we find the time necessary to focus on respiratory protection and make sure that we are tuned into the best resources available. Whether you are participating today as an N95 user who understands the benefit of learning about your respirator, as a dedicated respiratory protection program manager, or safety manager determined to create a workplace culture that embraces proper respiratory protection practices – we are here to provide you with the tools you need.

NIOSH Research Highlights Importance of Rigorous Standards for Gowns Used to Protect Healthcare Workers

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Healthcare, Personal Protective Equipment


Recent research performed at the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), with support from Nelson Laboratories, suggests that some isolation gowns do not meet the performance standards established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI).

Isolation gowns are the second-most-used piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals, following gloves (Holguin, 2011). Hospital isolation gowns are worn to protect healthcare workers during procedures and patient-care activities when anticipating contact with blood, bodily fluids, secretions and excretions (Siegel, 2007). The threat of emerging infectious diseases, such as Ebola virus disease and pandemic influenza, has highlighted the need for effective PPE to protect both healthcare workers and their patients.

N95 Respirator Use During Pregnancy – Findings from Recent NIOSH Research

Categories: Personal Protective Equipment, Reproductive Health, Respirators, Respiratory Health, Women


Recent NIOSH research has shed some light on the topic of the safety of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) use by pregnant workers. Women make up approximately one-half of the US work force. At any given time, about 10% of those female workers of child-bearing age (15–44 years of age) will be pregnant. Because many women are employed in occupations that require the use of protective facemasks, such as medical/surgical masks and FFR, NIOSH conducted research into the safety of FFR use while pregnant. The most frequently used FFR in the US is the N95 FFR (commonly referred to as “N95 mask”), but little information was previously available about the safety of N95 FFR use during pregnancy. Some individuals complain of difficulty breathing when wearing an N95 FFR or other protective facemasks, and many pregnant women find that they become somewhat shorter of breath as their pregnancy progresses, causing concern that use of N95 FFRs during pregnancy might make breathing even more difficult and possibly harm the woman and her fetus. Beyond the issue of use by pregnant working women on the job, the question also has implications for pregnant women outside the workplace. People sometimes use N95 FFRs as a matter of personal choice during infectious disease outbreaks, during environmental disasters that pollute the air, and even in more common recreational activities that may expose them to airborne allergens, such as gardening and woodworking.

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