NIOSH (pronounced nee-osh) is an acronym for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (pronounced nee-osh). Their vision is to develop new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and to transfer that knowledge into practice.
NIOSH is a research agency focused on the study of worker safety and health, and empowering employers and workers to create safe and healthy workplaces. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It has the mandate to assure “every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” NIOSH has more than 1,300 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering.
Specifically related to Personal Protective Equipment, the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) is a Division of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NPPTL prevents work-related injury, illness, and death by advancing the state of knowledge and application of personal protective technologies (PPT). NPPTL supports more than 20 million U.S. workers who rely on this equipment (e.g., respirators, clothing, gowns, gloves, eye protection and other types of protective gear) to keep them safe from on-the-job hazards.
The NIOSH NPPTL Respirator Approval Program is responsible for the testing and approval of respirators used in occupational settings. To be approved, a respirator model must meet the minimum performance requirements defined in Title 42, Part 84 of the Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR 84). This approval process ensures a minimum level of worker protection from airborne particulates, chemicals, and vapors. The approval process includes a laboratory evaluation of the respirator model, an evaluation of the manufacturer’s quality control plan, and audit testing of certified respirators. To facilitate these activities, NPPTL uses Standard Test Procedures (see Testing).