The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in collaboration with NASA Tournament Lab and HeroX, announced the winners of "The NIOSH Protective Clothing Challenge—Leaving No Body Unprotected.” The Challenge seeks solutions that consider the broad spectrum of U.S. workers in relation to factors that may influence fit such as body size and shape, gender, race, ethnicity, religious or cultural practices, or specific work tasks.

After receiving more than 35 submissions, NIOSH awarded a total of $55,000 distributed to five winning teams, with one first place, one second place, and three third place prizes. Winners of the Challenge submitted a range of solutions to help overcome poor fit in workers’ protective clothing—specifically medical gowns, firefighter turnout coats and pants, and protective coveralls for various sectors.

“It’s vital that workers have access to properly fitting protective clothing—not only for their own comfort, but for their safety,” said Dr. Maryann D'Alessandro, director of NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory. “We congratulate and thank our Challenge winners, who provided unique and innovative solutions that will help make sure protective clothing is designed to fit all workers.”

The NIOSH Protective Clothing Challenge — Leaving No Body Unprotected Winners: 

  • 1st place ($25,000) - Omni-Fit PPE Gown with Contamination Indicator

submitted by NBU/ED Collaboration Group

Self-conforming personal protective equipment (PPE) that adapts to various ranges of body types with use of an accordion style adjustable waist band and length.

  • 2nd place ($15,000) - Apples-2-Apples Measures + Pattern Drafting Method
     submitted by Susan Sokolowski's Team

This project maximizes appropriate anthropometric measures to develop more inclusive pattern drafts for turnout gear.

  • 3rd place (1) ($5,000) - Bifunctional AAMI Surgical Sleeve
     submitted by Maine Lee Technology Group, LLC

A bifunctional AAMI level 4 surgical sleeve creates an internal wicking environment while establishing an impervious external barrier.

  • 3rd place (2) ($5,000) - PPE Advanced Fit Certification for Organizations
     submitted by Katie Schumacher

Organizations would have the opportunity to earn PPE certification by helping employees become more aware of how their PPE fits.

  • 3rd place (3) ($5,000) - Covering All by Improving Unisex Sizing
     submitted by Fatma Baytar

Current sizing systems repeatedly fail to generate coveralls that fit well. We will develop a unisex sizing system to improve users’ safety.

The Challenge supports NIOSH’s efforts to provide equitable PPE protections for all U.S. workers. Learn more about the Challenge at HeroX

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Find more information about NIOSH at