The research project will develop and evaluate methods for rapidly respirator-enabling many persons (surge response) and workers in small workplaces without access to occupational health experts. The work will compare three training methods (printed brochure, video, and computer-based). Factors determining respirator tolerance will be investigated. These include multi-domain subjective responses and physiologic factors such as respiratory pattern and work of breathing adjustment. The effect of personal factors such as health status and psychophysical respiratory load sensitivity will be investigated. The work will include methods to facilitate mask size selection (e.g., facial dimension) and the use of thermal imaging to identify facial sealing surface leakage. Quantitative fit testing, simulated work performance, and tolerance will be evaluated immediately after training and after six months. A diverse group of subjects will be recruited and will include English and Spanish speakers;elastomeric half facemask and filtering facepiece respirators will be used. The proposed cross sector research will build upon recent investigations and potentially lead to more effective respiratory protection programs.

Public Health Relevance

The research project will develop and evaluate methods for enabling users to safely and effectively use respirators. The project will compare three training methods (printed brochure, video, and computer-based), assess subjective and physiologic factors determining respirator tolerance, and develop methods for mask size selection and thermal imaging for leak detection. The research will contribute to the ability to rapidly respirator-enable many persons (surge response) and workers and small workplaces.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Safety and Occupational Health Study Section (SOH)
Program Officer
Potula, Viji
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University of Arizona
United States
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Harber, Philip; Boumis, Robert J; Su, Jing et al. (2013) Component analysis of respirator user training. J Occup Environ Hyg 10:556-63
Wu, Samantha; Harber, Philip; Yun, David et al. (2011) Anxiety during respirator use: comparison of two respirator types. J Occup Environ Hyg 8:123-8
Harber, Philip; Yun, David; Santiago, Silverio et al. (2011) Respirator impact on work task performance. J Occup Environ Med 53:22-6
Harber, Philip; Santiago, Silverio; Bansal, Siddharth et al. (2010) Respirator physiologic impact in persons with mild respiratory disease. J Occup Environ Med 52:155-62
Harber, Philip; Santiago, Silverio; Wu, Samantha et al. (2010) Subjective response to respirator type: effect of disease status and gender. J Occup Environ Med 52:150-4
Harber, Philip; Bansal, Siddharth; Santiago, Silverio et al. (2009) Multidomain subjective response to respirator use during simulated work. J Occup Environ Med 51:38-45
Bansal, Siddharth; Harber, Philip; Yun, David et al. (2009) Respirator physiological effects under simulated work conditions. J Occup Environ Hyg 6:221-7