[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 222 (Friday, November 16, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68784-68785]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27898]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Standard Test Procedures Approval Process for Respirators To Be 
Used in Wildland Fire-Fighting Operations; Standard Test Procedures for 
Composite Multi-Gas and Particulate Protection and Approval Process for 
Respirators To Be Used in Wildland Fire-Fighting Operations

AGENCY: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 
(NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACTION: Respirators with Composite Protection for Wildland Fire-
Fighting Operations; Notice of Testing and Evaluation.

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SUMMARY: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 
National

[[Page 68785]]

Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) intends to employ 
existing provisions in 42 CFR Part 84 to test and approve air-purifying 
respirators (APRs) and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) that 
provide composite multi-gas and particulate protection for inhalation 
hazards associated with wildland fire-fighting. NIOSH will evaluate 
candidate respirators for inhalation protections tailored against 
exposures identified in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 
1984 standard on respirators for wildland fire-fighting (WFF) 
operations. Under 42 CFR Part 84 requirements, NIOSH approval is 
necessary for the complete evaluation of WFF respirators pursuant to 
NFPA 1984 (2011).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Wildland firefighting presents many hazards to firefighters, 
including inhalation exposure to smoke and other combustion (fire) 
byproducts. Studies indicate that most wildland firefighters work in 
smoke levels that are not expected to cause health problems or exceed 
legal and recommended limits.\1\ However, wildland firefighters 
occasionally experience smoke levels that exceed guidelines recommended 
by occupational health experts, and are higher than Federal 
occupational safety and health regulations allow. Because manufacturers 
have not yet developed respiratory protection for this occupational 
setting, firefighters battling wild fires often resort to using devices 
not approved by NIOSH, or NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece 
respirators which are not designed for this use, or no respiratory 
protection at all. Without a NIOSH-approved respirator designed to 
protect against the combination of particulates, gases and vapors 
generally produced by wildfires, firefighters cannot be sure that they 
are receiving adequate or any protection at all. Filtering facepiece 
respirators approved under the current NIOSH standards provide no 
protection against fire gases or vapors and may structurally fail at 
the elevated temperatures encountered in wildland firefighting 
environments.
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    \1\ See: Reinhardt,TE, Ottmar, RD. 2000. Smoke exposure at 
western wildfires. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-525. Portland, OR: U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest 
Research Station.
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    NIOSH is now accepting applications for respiratory protective 
devices designed for the inhalation hazards of this occupational 
setting.
    On July 10, 2012 NIOSH issued a letter to manufacturers \2\ 
announcing that NIOSH was prepared to evaluate respirators used for 
protection against the inhalation hazards identified in the National 
Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 1984 (2011 Edition).\3\ 
This new evaluation will be conducted in accordance with a Memorandum 
of Understanding between the NIOSH National Personal Protective 
Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) and the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), 
a non-governmental non-profit organization that administers third-party 
certification programs to certify a broad range of safety and 
protective products. Under this MOU, NIOSH/NPPTL and SEI will 
coordinate their certification programs. SEI will evaluate candidate 
respirators for compliance with NFPA 1984-2011, Standard on Respirators 
for Wildland Fire-Fighting Operations, which includes Tentative Interim 
Amendment (TIA) No. 11-1.
    Under NFPA 1984, the wildland firefighter respirator must be 
approved by NIOSH as an APR or a PAPR. NIOSH has developed test 
procedures for a composite particulate and multi-gas protection for APR 
and PAPR approvals in accordance with 42 CFR 84.60(b); 84.63(a), (b), 
(c), and (d); 84.110(c); and 84.190(b). The standard test procedures 
are available upon request and will be available on the NIOSH NPPTL Web 
site at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/stps/APresp.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Rehak, NIOSH National Personal 
Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), P.O. Box 18070, 626 Cochrans 
Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236; (412) 386-5200 (this is not a toll-
free number).

    Dated: November 8, 2012.
John Howard,
Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[FR Doc. 2012-27898 Filed 11-15-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4163-19-P