N95 Masks are popular. They have been the most important commodity for a pandemic that is not under the control of any person. If you have been trying to protect yourself from the virus, you should make sure that you have an N95 mask. The N95 mask is definitely one of the best things that people can have. 

However, given the current world situation, should individuals trust all of the N95 masks that are approved by NIOSH? In this article, we answer the questions that matter and give you information about the N95 masks. 

What Is The History of NIOSH? 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH is the United States Federal Agency that is charged with the “task of developing new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and to transfer that knowledge into practice.”

NIOSH was established back in 1970. It is a research agency that is focused on the study of worker safety and health. Again, the main mandate initially given to NIOSH was to act as a research agency. It is focused on studies and is a part of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. 

The mandate of NIOSH is to ensure that “every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” Today, NIOSH has more than 1,300 employees under many fields and they have been given the difficult task of ensuring that they provide all of the needs of the world especially in terms of the personal protective equipment like the N95 masks and the N95 respirators.

What Does It Mean To Have NIOSH Approval? 

According to the NIOSH website, NIOSH approval is issued only to those who have complied with all of the requirements of Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 84, and after the manufacturer’s quality plan is determined to be satisfactory.

Only the respirators that have been properly complied with the following, among others, can get NIOSH approval:

  • The masks that are made up of the components of the N95 masks are included on the NIOSH approval label. 
  • The note that the issuance of an approval number to a respirator manufacturer does not signify that every respirator built within that manufacturer’s facility is also NIOSH approved.
  • There is no kind of modification on the respirator in any way. NIOSH does not allow the manufacturer to modify the respirator  in any way. 
  • Any respirator manufacturer that is making false claims will be subject to the strict rescission of all NIOSH approvals held by the manufacturer.

What Does It Take To Have NIOSH Approval? 

In order for a respirator to get NIOSH approval, it has to go through a strict process. It requires going through the following processes:

  • NIOSH Conformity Assessment Notice. Understanding the NIOSH Conformity Assessment Notice is the first step towards the application process for a NIOSH approval. Manufacturers of N95 masks have properly developed information to provide information to NIOSH approved respirator users as well as to inform stakeholders about any kind of changes in a test procedure or the NIOSH CA process. This notice is a requirement and it means that revocations should be easily done. The document is also developed to reaffirm the NIOSH CA process or procedure. This is the beginning of the process that manufacturers should understand. 
  • NIOSH Conformity Assessment Interpretation. This is the “interpretation and the explanation of a course of action or position adopted and pursued by NIOSH that directly affects its stakeholders such as interpretations of and changes to the respirator approval process or requirements.” Understanding this process is necessary as well for the manufacturer.
  • NIOSH Quality Control Requirements. There are also some NIOSH Quality Control Requirements that are set by NIOSH. According to the NIOSH website itself, in order to achieve document and data control, the manufacturer must have three specific processes involved and they are the following:
    • Quality Assurance - the manufacturer must be able to show “a process to uniquely identify all documents which constitute quality control plans, drawings, procedures, and forms, including a date of revision or revision level”;
    • Internal Review - the manufacturer must “ensure there is an internal review and approval process for all new and revised drawings and documents”; and
    • Document Control - the manufacturer must also “have a procedure in place for the distribution of all controlled documents within the quality system, including a process for the removal of any obsolete documents to prevent unintentional use.”

Based on the information posed above, it is clear that individuals can definitely trust the N95 masks that have NIOSH approval. They are reliable and they have gone through a strict process that would allow them to be trusted by many. As long as the N95 mask and N95 respirator that you have comes with NIOSH approval, you can be sure that it is reliable and that you can stay protected by the commodity.

Take The Time

It is important for individuals to take their time when it comes to trusting the process and the products before they spend money on anything. Individuals should learn more about how they can maximize the use of a specific product and how they can ensure the proper use of the products. If you have done your research and have read this article properly, you should know that you can trust N95 masks and everything that it can offer. 

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