Respiratory Protection in U.S. Industry - an Evaluation of Program Quality Indicators and Occupational Health Outcomes
Matthew Caddell, Brent Doney, Ki Moon Bang, and Edward L. Petsonk
Previous research on respirator use has mainly focused on the individual worker and not at the establishment level. We examined the quality of an establishment's respiratory protection program by linking the "Survey of Respirator Use and Practices" from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with the "Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses" from the BLS. Out findings indicated that a majority of small establishments (1-10 employees) had "Poor" respirator programs. The two leading program deficiencies across essentially all industries were the lack of a written program or an evaluation of program effectiveness. The study was unable to discern an impact of an establishment's respiratory protection program quality on the reported incidence of occupational illnesses, but the findings can help guide practical approaches for further investigations in this field.
Keywords: respiratory protective devices, occupational exposure, respiratory protection standard, occupational health.