New NIOSH Guidance on N-95 Respirators

COVID-19

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued new ​​guidance that health care providers should only use N-95 respirators and should not be using crisis standards as availability of N-95 respirators is sufficient. According to a situational update as of May 2021:  

“T​he supply and availability of NIOSH-approved respirators have increased significantly over the last several months. Health care facilities should not be using crisis capacity strategies at this time and should promptly resume conventional practices. Check the NIOSH Certified Equipment List to identify all NIOSH-approved respirators.  

​​Health care facilities should stop purchasing non-NIOSH-approved respirators for use as respiratory protection and consider using any that have been stored for source control where respiratory protection is not needed. Respirators that were previously used and decontaminated should not be stored. We do not know the long-term stability of non-NIOSH-approved respirators and respirators that have been decontaminated, and if these will be recommended for use in the future. Health care facilities should return to using only NIOSH-approved respirators where needed.” 

In addition, the FDA posted a letter about transitioning from non-NIOSH-approved and decontaminated disposable respirators. 

This update applies to the following guidance: