The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) needs your help!
Your concept could help improve public health.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal organization specifically dedicated to generating new knowledge in the occupational safety and health field and transferring that knowledge into practice for the betterment of workers.
The mission of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) is to advance the state of knowledge and application of personal protective technologies. NPPTL conducts scientific research, leads federal and consensus personal protective technology standards and development, approves respirators, develops guidance and authoritative recommendations, disseminates information, and responds to requests for workplace health hazard evaluations.
Humans come in many shapes and sizes, as do respirators. This results in wide variability of physical dimensions and features of both people and respirators. The ability of a respirator to form a satisfactory seal or barrier between the wearer and the contaminated environment may be significantly affected by these variabilities. If the respirator-user match (fit) is not checked, an unsatisfactory seal/barrier may unknowingly exist. This could allow excessive leakage of airborne contaminants into the wearer’s breathing zone, despite the user wearing a respirator correctly selected for the application. A fit evaluation is used to address this issue and assess whether a specific type, model and size of respirator can adequately fit a specific individual.
There are issues with the current state of fit evaluation on filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), especially for those working outside of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulatory oversight.
- Research and anecdotal information reveal that health workers at doctors’ offices, nursing homes, dental facilities, and home health settings may not conduct initial or annual fit evaluation on a consistent basis due to lack of resources and fit evaluation procedures being impractical to implement widely across an organization
- From a global pandemic, to wildfire smoke, and air pollution in urban areas; now more than ever the general public is wearing tight fitting respirators without the benefit of a fit evaluation to know if the respirator selected is properly providing the intended level of protection.
- Under serious outbreak conditions, current approaches to quantitative and qualitative fit evaluations are constrained and lack the ability to efficiently scale.
These problems present an opportunity for innovators to design a respirator fit evaluation solution delivering users real-time information on a filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) fit.
 INTRODUCTION TO RESPIRATOR FIT EVALUATION, https://tsi.com/getmedia/25c8d870-4544-4ae4-8f24-a13a27819577/Introduction-to-RFT-(ITI-070)-US?ext=.pdf
How to Enter
In order to enter the Challenge, team’s should follow these three steps.
- Register your team. Each team is required to identify a Team Leader who registers the official Team on the external Challenge site.
- Attend the informational webinar on February 2, 2023. Register and attend the virtual informational webinar to gain additional information and ask clarifying questions to the Challenge team.
- Submit a Phase 1 Concept Paper by May 12, 2023. Phase 1 submission materials are due on the external Challenge site by 11:59 PM EDT on May 12, 2023. View the Phase 1 Concept Paper submission details in the Submission Requirements section of this document.