A Call for Donations of Surplus Masks and Respirators
The following is a joint statement from AIHA, our parent organization, and ACOEM on Coronavirus.
Dear AIHA and ACOEM Members and Friends,
As you are aware, health care workers, first responders/firefighters and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are facing a critical shortage of infection control personal protective equipment (PPE). We believe that industrial facilities may have excess stock of PPE that could be donated. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) have joined efforts with the American Hospital Association (AHA) to urge you to make an in-kind donation of any surplus PPE to help healthcare workers who are on the front lines through the COVID-19 pandemic stay safe and healthy.
WHAT IS NEEDED
In the news, the N95 mask seems to be all that is talked about; however, there are several others that can save lives during this crisis: P95, N99, N100, P95, P99 or P100.
To combat the current shortage, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now allowing the use of industrial-style filtering facepiece respirators. Many facilities have stock of N95 and P95 respirators that are distributed as voluntary comfort masks. Facilities prepared to meet requirements of the OSHA Silica Standard may have extra industrial-style respirators. These masks will provide a life-saving barrier from COVID-19 for the workers battling this deadly pandemic.
On March 14, 2020, OSHA issued a directive that provides guidance on expanding the supply available to health care providers: “respirators of equal or higher protection, such as N99 or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate filters or cartridges, or powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR)” should be donated. Also, respirators marked P95, P99 and P100 meet this standard of protection (“P” simply means they are oil proof).
HOW TO DONATE
Per the American Hospital Association, AIHA and ACOEM recommend the following ways to ensure the proper medical supplies are delivered to areas with the greatest need:
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) is a longtime not-for-profit partner of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that facilitates donations of time, money, and goods for emergencies. Their website has been retooled to accept donations of goods relevant to COVID-19 treatment.
- Organizations with regional or national scope would be better served working with larger group purchasing organizations (GPOs) such as Premier and Vizient. Byron Jobe, CEO, Vizient (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Blair Childs, SVP, Premier (email@example.com).
- If you choose to donate these supplies directly to your local hospitals, AHA recommends contacting the administrative offices (procurement officer or supply chain manager) first.
- Visit www.donateppe.org/takeaction to search PPE donation opportunities by state.
- Another option is to make a monetary donation to Direct Relief, a charity that will buy and donate various medical supplies to any healthcare centers that need supplies.
Whatever you and your company can do to help will be most appreciated. We are in this together.
Kathy Murphy, CIH
Stephen A. Frangos, MD, MPH, FACOEM
Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards.
More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic, and government sectors.
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) is the pre-eminent physician-led national medical society representing 4,500 occupational medicine physicians and other health care professionals. ACOEM provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments by educating healthcare / occupational health professionals and the public; enhancing the quality of OEM practice; guiding workplace and public policy, and advancing the field of occupational and environmental medicine.