National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has launched the Respiratory Fit Evaluation Challenge. The crowdsourcing competition offers $350,000 in total prize money for novel solutions to improve respirator fit testing practices.
Although OSHA requires annual fit testing for all employees who must wear a respirator, NIOSH research indicates that small or disadvantaged workplaces may not have the resources to conduct initial and annual fit testing.
Additionally, more members of the public now wear N95 filtering facepiece respirators as protection against infectious diseases, pollution or wildfire smoke, yet don't know if they are effective.
To participate in Phase 1, individuals/companies must submit a concept paper (10 pages maximum) that outlines an idea on how to improve respirator fit testing by May 1. According to NIOSH, up to 20 candidates will be eligible to win $5,000
and continue to Phase 2.
“Fit testing is vital to ensure a respirator wearer is receiving the expected level of protection and is wearing a correctly fitting model and size,” says Maryann D’Alessandro, Ph.D., director of NIOSH’s National Personal Protective
Technology Laboratory. “We hope this challenge helps us identify a practical solution that delivers users, whether in a workplace or not, immediate information on a respirator’s fit.”
The challenge is a collaboration between NIOSH, Capital Consulting Corporation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Learn more on the challenge website.