The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa have called attention to the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) in different health care settings. Questions have also been raised about how best to ensure appropriate and effective use of different kinds of PPE (such as respirators), not only to promote occupational safety but also to reduce disease transmission, in general.
Since 2005, the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has sponsored the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Standing Committee on Personal Protective Equipment for Workplace Safety and Health. In mid-2014, NPPTL asked the IOM to convene a workshop to help prioritize and accelerate NIOSH activities to update certification requirements for powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) for use in health care.
The IOM Workshop Summary is available online.