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NIOSH updates PPE research plan for healthcare workers

New studies, priorities being taken into account

NIOSHThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) personal protective technology (PPT) program is being revised to reflect recent studies and changes in national priorities related to PPE for healthcare workers.

The PPT agenda or action plan describes the near term and long term strategy for the PPT program's research and intervention, standards development, and information dissemination program to improve the efficacy and effectiveness of PPE used in healthcare settings.

“Since the healthcare worker PPE action plan was last updated in 2010 (revision 4), several reports have been published that provide updated national priorities related to PPE for healthcare workers,” according to NIOSH.

One example: in 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report entitled Preventing Transmission of Pandemic Influenza and Other Viral Respiratory Diseases: Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Personnel Update 2010 that assessed the nation's progress on improving PPE for healthcare personnel exposed to infectious respiratory diseases and made recommendations to address research gaps (to access this document please go to http://www.regulations.gov).

IDing, comparing, strategizing

The NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program; Framework Document for Healthcare Worker PPE Action Plan includes:

1. Identifying proposed recommendations and activities

2. Comparing current NIOSH intramural and extramural program activities versus the proposed recommendations and activities

3. An overarching strategy for NIOSH PPT program management to prioritize among competing recommendations, activities, and future action steps; and

4. Outlining the process planned for seeking stakeholder input on what “action steps” should be taken by NIOSH and the NIOSH PPT program to address the recommendations.

Comments are sought in three specific areas:

1. Proposed use of the 2011 IOM report recommendations as the basis for the 12 overarching recommendations and 36 activities in next revision of the action plan;

2. Proposed use of improving healthcare worker PPE compliance as the overarching goal for prioritization; and

3. Specific actions that NIOSH and the NIOSH PPT program should take to address the proposed recommendations

The NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Program; Framework Document for Healthcare Worker PPE Action Plan is available on the Federal Register website; and public comments may be submitted until Sept. 13, 2013.

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