Categories: Personal Protective Equipment, Reproductive Health, Respirators, Respiratory Health, Women
June 18th, 2015 12:30 pm ET -
Raymond Roberge, MD, MPH; Jung-Hyun Kim, PhD; and Jeffrey B. Powell, MS
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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Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators
February 13th, 2015 8:13 am ET -
Jaclyn Krah, MA
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear … no, we’re not talking about our plans for Valentine’s Day. For the last few years NIOSH has celebrated this romantic holiday by showing a little love for respirators. This year we are highlighting the special considerations necessary for the use of CBRN APRs (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Air-Purifying Respirators). Please note that a respiratory protection program administrator should always ensure that manufacturer recommendations are being addressed and applicable regulations are followed in addition to the NIOSH Cautions and Limitations of use. APR wearers should also be trained to fully understand and appreciate the unique characteristics of the CBRN APRs in order to obtain optimal protection during use.
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Categories: Observances, Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators, Respiratory Health
September 5th, 2014 7:42 am ET -
Jaclyn Krah, MA
N95 Day is finally here again. We hope that you have been looking forward to it as much as we have! N95 Day has become an annual observance, now in its third year. This year we are focusing on the specific theme of “Respiratory Preparedness: Where Technology Meets Good Practices.” Confidence and familiarity with proper respirator practices is important for employers, respiratory protection program managers, and safety managers in all industries who rely on N95 respiratory protection to help keep workers safe. The education to build this familiarity must happen before the time comes where a respirator is needed.
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Categories: Healthcare, Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators
June 26th, 2014 8:07 am ET -
Lindsay Stradtman, MPH; Jaclyn Krah, MA; Debra Novak, PhD, RN
Every day healthcare workers (HCWs) make decisions about the best way to protect themselves. What would you do if you entered the room of a new patient and noticed symptoms such as fever and a mucus-producing cough? As a HCW, you must then ask yourself, “What type of disease does the patient have? What sort of precautions should I take to protect myself because the patient may have an infectious disease?” While it is your employer’s responsibility to provide policies, programs, training, and guidance on respirator use, it is the health care workers who implement these procedures. Do you know when to use respiratory protection? If so, do you understand what type of protection to choose and how to use it properly?
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