Respiratory protection Health care/social assistance Health Care Workers Federal agencies Public administration Workplace exposures

Comment period reopens for interim final rule on new class of PAPRs

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Washington — The Department of Health and Human Services has reopened until Sept. 25 the comment period on an interim final rule that allows NIOSH to approve a new class of powered air-purifying respirators for workers in the health care and public safety sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other changes.

According to a notice published in the Aug. 26 Federal Register, the new class of PAPRs – known as PAPR100 – “may be better suited to the needs of workers” in these sectors to protect against the disease.

Initially published in the April 14 Federal Register, the rule adds “parallel performance standards” to current regulatory requirements for PAPRs. It also consolidates technical standards for powered and non-powered air-purifying particulate respirators into one place: 42 CFR, Part 84, Subpart K. The initial comment period ended Aug. 12.

 

The rule removes standards for “obsolete” respirators intended for dust, fume and mist; pesticide; and paint spray. It also “aligns particulate filter testing” for the new class of PAPRs with current requirements for non-powered particulate respirators.

PAPRs are often used in high-hazard operations in health care because they can filter aerosol-transmissible viruses that cause diseases such as COVID-19, as well as bloodborne pathogens and chemicals.

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