NIOSH to launch national employer survey of respirator use and practices

October 13, 2023

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will soon launch a national survey of employers to assess current respirator use and practices in their workplaces. The Survey of Respirator Use and Practices (SRUP) is the first effort to collect updated data about respiratory protection across all U.S. industries, including mining, since the initial survey in 2001.

NIOSH will use the data to update the estimated number of U.S. companies using respirators, detail the number of employees using respirators, determine why respirators are being used, and reveal how U.S. employers manage respirator use.

“Respirators offer workers and the public protection from hazards such as those created when providing healthcare to patients, using harsh chemicals for cleaning or manufacturing, or fighting wildland or structural fires,” Maryann D’Alessandro, Ph.D., director of NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory said in a statement. “We encourage all businesses to complete the survey about their respirator use and practices. This information is critical to informing future research and development within NIOSH’s Respirator Approval Program.”

The SRUP will help to ensure that NIOSH’s Respirator Approval Program can address all respirator uses and practices, thereby providing crucial support to workers and the public. The current survey comes at an important time, as newly added questions since the 2001 survey will help to reveal how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the landscape of respirator use throughout many industries. Given the changes in respirator use over the last three years, it’s a critical time to capture current respirator use and practices in manufacturing, mining, agriculture, healthcare, public safety, construction, and services.

“The survey will provide a retrospective view of respirator use and procurement challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic,” added D’Alessandro. “This will ensure better planning and preparedness for future pandemics.”

As the nation’s official approver for respirators, NIOSH establishes procedures and prescribes requirements for inspections, examinations, and tests to determine respirator effectiveness, per 42 CFR Part 84: Approval of Respiratory Protective Devices.

Today, NIOSH’s Respirator Approval Program stands as the most robust respirator certification and approval program across the globe. Many countries count on the use of NIOSH Approved® respirators to provide workers and the public with these life-saving protections. As examples from the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all require the use of NIOSH Approved respirators when protection is required.

NIOSH will extend invitations to employers to complete this survey beginning November 2. For any related questions, please contact

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