Recorded at AIHce EXP 2021
Implementation of Respiratory Protection Compliance Procedures as part of the COVID-19 Control and Prevention Program for a Global Retailer
The initial outbreak of the coronavirus-related pneumonia, now recognized at COVID-19 occurred at a seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019. Within a month, the disease quickly spread to multiple provinces in China despite the closure of the seafood market and an announcement of an epidemiologic alert by the local health authorities. The disease also traveled to other countries with the CDC confirming the first case of COVID-19 in the United States on January 21, 2020. By February 3, 2020, the US had declared a public health emergency; and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The resulting shutdown of much of the US economy and specifically the nationwide closure of the commercial retail sector drastically reduced the public's access to daily supplies, healthcare, and other essential items and services. As a result, company management, including EHS professionals for these companies were suddenly tasked with implementing protocols designed for reopening stores for the US consumers while ensuring the safety of both the public and company employees. This case study explores the complex issues related to human health and COVID-19 that faced a large global retail company. The study details firsthand the challenges to recognize the potential risks and recounts the urgency to implement procedures for respirator selection, medical clearance, employee training, and fit testing across a large geographic footprint.
Co-Authors: D. Hamlin, GHD Services, Inc., North Little Rock, AR, USA
Presenter/Author: Benjamin Chandler, CIH, CSP, GHD Services, Inc., North Little Rock, AR
Identifying Substandard and Counterfeit International Respirators: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Experience
As COVID-19 spread across the globe, widespread shortages of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), the most commonly used respiratory protective device to protect healthcare and emergency response workers from inhaling infectious particles, were reported. The situation in the United States was no different. As U.S. guidance started permitting respirators meeting international standards to be used in U.S. workplaces, large numbers of international FFRs began appearing in the marketplace. Many of these respirators were produced by manufacturers with no prior experience submitting approval applications to the rigorous testing and quality assurance processes required by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators used in American workplaces. Very few of these international products had been submitted to the U.S. government's NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NIOSH/NPPTL) for evaluation and approval for use in American workplaces prior to COVID-19. NIOSH initiated a limited assessment activity to evaluate non-NIOSH-approved respirators to provide stakeholders data needed to permit or prohibit these products in the U.S. marketplace. During this evaluation process, NIOSH/NPPTL conducted a variety of physical tests, as well as a rigorous quality assurance review. All respirators to be used in American workplaces are to be NIOSH-approved, as required by U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Co-Authors: A. Andrews, NIOSH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV, USA John Powers, NIOSH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV, USA Jaclyn Cichowicz, NIOSH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Marisa Fries, NIOSH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Chris Coffey, NIOSH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Patrick Yorio, NIOSH, Nation
Presenter/Author: Ms. Angela Andrews, M.S., CDC NIOSH NPPTL, Morgantown, WV