The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued a request for information (RFI) seeking feedback on centers of excellence for personal protective technology (PPT), which includes personal protective equipment (PPE).

NIOSH is focused on the study and research of worker safety and health. Within NIOSH, the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory is tasked with preventing disease, injury, and death for the millions of American workers who rely on PPT to survive.

The RFI comes in response to a 2008 recommendation from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies. The IOM and NRC recommended NIOSH develop and support centers of excellence to bolster PPT and research efforts.

“In response to the IOM/NRC recommendation, NIOSH is exploring the establishment of centers of excellence dedicated to advancing PPT and serving as knowledge hubs where experts from multiple disciplines, industry representatives, and other interested parties/groups collaborate on PPT research and practice,” the RFI says.

The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory has selected three key areas for the centers of excellence to focus on.

These three areas include:

  • “Research and development of new technologies and approaches to PPT including sensor technology to increase efficacy;
  • Human factors/ergonomics approaches to evaluating the factors that influence the adoption and usage of PPT such as performance, comfort, fit, and usability; sociotechnical systems analyses of the influences of factors such as health and safety management systems, safety culture, and regulatory requirements; and
  • Innovative approaches to the design, manufacture, and maintenance of PPT that enhance factors such as the effectiveness and acceptance of PPT in varied user populations, availability, and the ability to rapidly customize and produce PPT during crises.”

NIOSH wants input on the three focus areas, as well as answers to eight additional questions focused around PPT research and effectiveness.

Comments for the RFI are due by January 31, 2022.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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