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CBRN PPE

Published: 01st Jun 2011 in OSA Magazine

This year and in early 2012 the Emergency response community will start to see products being introduced to the marketplace that comply with a new series of National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) product performance standards. These standards have one major goal in mind, and that is to protect emergency personnel as they respond to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) threat.

This is likely to have knock on implications for hazmat protective clothing worn in all kinds of industrial contexts. The new standards, suits/ensembles discussed in this article are relevant to industry because of their focus on agility and dexterity.

OSA readers working in smelting and foundries, the oil and gas industry or petrochemicals are likely to see the benefits of new quality standards - they may be introduced by the US, but when considering such toxic hazards it’s likely they’ll be adopted or drawn upon across the globe.

In view of the recent crises in Japan’s nuclear facilities, it’s hoped that information sharing can only further protect workers operating in such dangerous environments.

US NIJ protective clothing standard

A Special Technical Committee (STC) was established by the NIJ to develop a voluntary, performance standard to address the specific needs of the law enforcement community in response to CBRN threats. There were existing standards that addressed CBRN protection for emergency services, such as hazardous material (hazmat) response, fire service, technical rescue, and emergency medical service. However, none of the standards fully addressed law enforcement needs, as the NIJ determined law enforcement officers responding to such incidents have different requirements than other responders, including the need for stealth, increased durability, dexterity, the ability to use weapons, and the ability to handle human threats.

Parallels - with the exception of the need for stealth and the ability to use weapons - are clear with industry. Substitute tools for weapons and the remit in terms of the wearer’s demands of the clothing are precisely the same.

NFPA executive management signed an agreement with the NIJ to allow for the sharing of technical resources, including some of the criteria from existing NFPA Hazmat and CBRN protective clothing and ensemble standards. This type of cooperation in the standards’ setting community was unprecedented and saved the NIJ STC years of duplicative research.

Following more than two years of STC monthly meetings, overseen by an advisory working group of industry representatives, a steering committee and after extensive public and internal NIJ reviews, in November 2010 NIJ released a new standard for CBRN protective ensembles for the law enforcement community.

The CBRN Protective Ensemble Standard for Law Enforcement, NIJ Standard-0116.00, defines both performance requirements and the methods used to test performance on materials and the entire ensemble. It was established to ensure that law enforcement officers responding to criminal incidents involving the potential for CBRN hazards have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

This standard specifies the minimum requirements for form and fit, performance, testing, documentation and labeling of CBRN protective ensembles intended to protect against CBRN hazards.

CBRN hazards include chemical warfare agents (CWAs), toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), biological agents and radiological and nuclear particulate hazards that may inflict bodily harm, incapacitation or death.

A CBRN ensemble consists of the following elements:

• Garment covering the wearer’s upper and lower torso, arms, legs and head

• Hand protection elements covering the wearer’s wrists and hands

• Foot protection covering the wearer’s feet, ankles and lower legs

• Respiratory protection

The standard provides for four levels of CBRN protective ensembles that could be selected for protection that are based on mission requirements, expected mission duration, durability requirements of different operations and activities, and hazards present in the CBRN threat environments.
Performance requirements for the ensemble (system level), garment element, glove element and foot protection element are established for each of the four levels. Respiratory protection requirements are established in other standards.

Law Enforcement Response Level 1 (LERL-1)

LERL-1 ensembles are designed to provide limited protection to law enforcement personnel making tactical entry into potential CBRN environments where the following conditions exist:

• CBRN hazard concentrations are unknown or are known to be at or above immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) levels requiring the use of a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)

• The atmosphere is oxygen deficient

• Flame and flash fire hazards exist
LERL-1 ensembles are required to be tested against two Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and 24 Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) that are representative of many chemical threats. Ensembles also undergo testing for rigorous durability associated with tactical operations.An example scenario in which an 

LERL-1 ensemble may be used is in a tactical entry into a building containing CWAs or into a suspected clandestine drug laboratory environment.
An industrial application would be use by a hazmat team responding to a chemical or materials release where the hazard concentrations are known to be at IDLH levels.

Law Enforcement Response Level 2 (LERL-2)

LERL-2 ensembles are designed to provide limited protection to law enforcement personnel making tactical entry into potential CBRN environments where the following conditions exist:

• CBRN hazard concentrations are unknown or are known to be at or above IDLH levels requiring the use of an SCBA

• The atmosphere is oxygen deficient

• There is no potential for flame or flash fire hazards
LERL-2 ensembles are tested against the same two CWAs as LERL-1 ensembles and only five TICs. Ensembles also undergo testing for rigorous durability associated with tactical operations. The major differences between LERL-1 and LERL-2 are that LERL-1 offers protection against more TICs, and it also provides flame/flash fire resistance.

An example scenario in which an LERL-2 ensemble may be used is a hostage rescue situation in a potentially contaminated environment with no flame/flash fire potential.

An industrial application would be use by a hazmat team responding to a chemical or materials release wherethe hazard concentrations are known to be at IDLH levels, or in an industrial plant event where a hazmat team must control a release source and company personnel need to be rescued. A risk analysis indicates there is no flame/flash potential.

Law Enforcement Response Level 3 (LERL-3)

LERL-3 ensembles are designed to provide limited protection to law enforcement personnel making tactical entry into potential CBRN environments where the following conditions exist:

• CBRN hazard concentrations are known to be below IDLH levels permitting the use of an air powered respirator (APR) or Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR)

• Sufficient oxygen levels exist

• There is no potential for flame or flash fire hazards

LERL-3 ensembles are tested against the same CWAs and TICs as LERL-2. LERL-3 ensembles also undergo testing for rigorous durability associated with tactical operations. The major difference between LERL-2 and LERL-3 is that LERL-3 ensembles are intended for use in conditions known to be below IDLH and allowing for use of APR or PAPR.

An example scenario in which an LERL-3 ensemble may be worn is a tactical building search in a contaminated environment in which concentrations are known to be below IDLH.
Applications for this ensemble would include virtually any industrial scenario.

Law Enforcement Response Level 4 (LERL-4)

LERL-4 ensembles are designed to provide limited protection to law enforcement personnel performing perimeter operations in potential CBRN environments where the following conditions exist:

• CBRN hazard concentrations are known to be below IDLH levels permitting the use of an APR or PAPR

• Sufficient oxygen levels exist

• There is no potential for flame or flash fire hazards

LERL-4 ensembles are required to be tested against the same CWAs and TICs as LERL-2 and LERL-3; however, LERL-4 ensembles undergo less rigorous testing for durability due to expected activities associated with perimeter operations.

An example scenario in which an LERL-4 ensemble may be worn is establishing and maintaining an outer perimeter at a CBRN incident.

An industrial application of this would be to ensure the safety of company employees or the public.

Methods used to test performance

The NIJ Standard-0116.00 is a minimum performance standard that details precise test methods, including various types of pre-conditioning, for verifying performance. It includes more than 30 tests such as individual material tests, seam tests and overall integrity of the ensemble.

There is an Audible Signature Test developed specifically for this standard to assess the noise level of the ensemble itself while being worn by test subjects.

This test method was designed for situations where the law enforcement officer requires a covert approach. The test subjects are dressed in the ensemble and complete a series of movements within a hemi-anechoic chamber. Sound pressure measurements are recorded and used to evaluate performance.

Another test is the Chemical Permeation Test which analyses resistance of a material to permeation by a potentially hazardous chemical.

The test exposes the exterior surface of the ensemble material swatch to a specific chemical challenge and then the interior surface is monitored to determine the breakthrough time and/or the cumulative permeation of the chemical through the fabric.

The Gross Body Mobility and Ergonomic Scenario Tests assess the range of motion afforded by the ensemble to ensure that it is not overly restrictive such that it would impede operational effectiveness. The gross body mobility tests include a series of controlled body movements for the arms, legs and torso, and the ergonomic scenario tests consist of a timed series of law enforcement specific activities. The results will determine the degradation in performance.

The Man-In-Simulant Test (MIST) analyses the amount of vapour penetration through the ensembleswhile being worn by volunteer testers. The volunteers are placed inside a chamber containing approved chemical agent simulant. Testers carry out a sequence of movements that are designed to demonstrate a full range of motion, exposing all interfaces and closures to the chemical agent simulant.

At the completion of the test, sampling devices are removed from locations on the test subject’s body and are used to evaluate the minimum anticipated protection provided by the ensemble. The MIST testing is particularly valuable in assessing respirator, glove, boot and garment interfaces as well as screening potential closure systems of the ensemble.

Some other test methods include: viral penetration resistance, flame impingement, flame resistance, hand function and grip, durability/material property tests and donning and doffing.

The NIJ 0116.00, CBRN Protective Ensemble Standard for Law Enforcement is part of a three document set. The second document focuses on the end user and the care and use of CBRNE PPE. The Law Enforcement CBRN Protective Ensemble Selection and Application Guide provides procurement, selection, care, maintenance, training, and administrative guidance related to CBRN protective ensembles is now undergoing final, internal review within the NIJ.

Third party certification

Most importantly, as part of the NIJ CBRN Protective Ensemble Programme, the STC also developed CBRN Protective Ensemble Standard for Law Enforcement Certification Programme Requirements, NIJ CR-0116.00. 

The soon to be released document specifies requirements for the independent third party certification of ensembles to ensure that ensembles are tested and comply with the standard. The certification programme requirements include accreditation requirements for third party certification organisations, and accreditation requirements for testing laboratories utilised in the certification process.

When a manufacturer elects to have an ensemble certified, they coordinate directly with the accredited certification body to submit representative production samples for evaluation. Each ensemble will be certified as a system, including the CBRN respirator specified by the ensemble manufacturer.

The NIJ certification programme requirements are intended to establish a common and consistent framework across the industry, especially for product manufacturers submitting CBRN ensembles for certification and for end users who rely on the product to perform to specifications.

The NIJ document requires the certification body to be accredited to ISO Guide 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Third Party Certification Systems. The accredited certification body provides direction and clarification throughout certification process of initial and annual product testing and annual audits of the manufacturing process. The ISO accreditation states that the certification organisation complies with ten ISO guides for testing, inspection and certification, and the certifier is audited on an annual basis.

Third party certification is designed to ensure that product testing is conducted in accordance with the most current product performance standard in a consistent manner by a laboratory accredited to test to that particular standard.

ISO Guide 65 has requirements for the certification body to ensure all manufacturers are treated equally in the testing and certification process. This creates a level playing field and helps reduce false claims made by competing manufacturers. Manufacturers submitting their CBRN ensembles commit to ongoing scrutiny of their products and processes by independent third parties and, furthermore, agree to recalling when non-conforming products are found.

It means that a manufacturer submits to a stringent quality assurance audit at their manufacturing facility and their ensemble has passed product testing at the certification body’s testing laboratory.

Those products that bear the mark of the certification organisation have successfully completed product testing and have successfully met quality assurance requirements. The NIJ requires that a list of certified products be published by the certification body and made accessible to the public.

NFPA CBRN standards activities

While the NFPA 1994, Standard on First Responder Protective Ensembles for CBRN Terrorism Incidents has been in existence since 2001, the NFPA Technical Committee charged with maintaining the document is now working on the third version of this standard. The next edition is scheduled for a February 2012 publication date.

The current NFPA 1994, 2007 edition was developed to apply to all emergency responders at CBRN incidents. The standard establishes requirements for ensembles for single exposure use. Such requirements include design, performance, testing, and documentation for protective ensembles and ensemble elements for protection from chemicals, biological agents, and radiological particulate (CBRN) terrorism agents. Because of the critical performance characteristics of safety and protective equipment, and the hazardous environments where the products are used, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Correlating Committee (TCC) stipulates that all standards under its protective clothing and equipment project include requirements for third party certification. Therefore, there is a chapter of NFPA 1994 devoted to certification.

The standard establishes minimum requirements for CBRN protective ensembles and ensemble elements for emergency personnel responding to incidents involving terrorism agents and for personnel exposed to victims or materials during assessment, extrication, rescue, triage, decontamination, treatment, site security, crowd management and force protection operations at CBRN terrorism agents. The NFPA 1994 standard does not establish requirements for respiratory protection.

NFPA 1994 addresses four classes of protective ensembles and ensemble elements.

Class 1 - the standard refers Class 1 CBRN protective ensembles and ensemble elements which are addressed in NFPA 1991, Standard on Vapour-Protective Ensembles for Hazardous Materials Emergencies.

Class 2 - applies to ensembles and ensemble elements designed to provide limited protection to emergency first responder personnel at terrorism incidents involving vapour or liquid chemical hazards where the concentrations are at IDLH, requiring the use of SCBA. Many responders refer to this type of scenario as the ‘hot zone’.

Class 3 - applies to ensembles designed to provide limited protection for emergency responder personnel at terrorism incidents involving low levels of vapour or liquid chemical hazards where the concentrations are below IDLH, permitting use of CBRN APRs or PAPRs. As warm zone operations are generally longer in time, a breathable barrier material is used in order to meet the Total Heat Loss (THL) requirements,

Class 4 - applies to ensembles designed to provide limited protection to emergency first responder personnel at incidents involving biological hazards or radiological particulate hazards where the concentrations are below the IDLH, permitting the use of APRs or PAPRs. These ensembles may be used for white powder calls and must meet higher THL values than the Class 3 ensembles.

Certification

In order for a manufacturer to comply with an NFPA protective clothing and equipment standard, their product must be certified by a third party. The third party certification body must comply with the requirements of the NFPA standards and be accredited to ISO 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating

Third Party Certification Systems. Both ANSI (www.ANSI.org) and the SCC (www.SCC.ca) have a listing of third party certification bodies.
Certification of an NFPA 1994 ensemble or ensemble element includes independent testing in accordance with the 25 specified test methods and quality assurance audits to ensure compliance with ISO 9001, Quality Management System and Requirements, and compliance with the standard. NFPA standards require two audits per year to inspect manufacturing plants for continued compliance with ISO 9001 and the standard.

Certification also includes a design review and evaluation of documentation including the product label, technical data package and user instructions specified in the Labeling and Information Chapter and the Design Requirements Chapter of NFPA 1994. Detailed descriptions of the ensemble, materials and accessories and technical data demonstrating compliance are carefully scrutinised for compliance with the standard. Complete product testing and design and label review is also conducted during annual recertification. To assist users in identifying certified products, the product label must show the mark of the certification organisation. This requirement is to help ensure that the purchaser can readily determine compliance.

The NFPA 1994 standard has been widely adopted internationally, as it provides critical information to assist professionals in selecting the appropriate level of protection for their employees. Many government agencies, fire departments and corporations reference this standard as part of their purchasing specification.

The NFPA recommends that prospective purchasers require appropriate evidence of certification for the specific model when purchasing a CBRN ensemble.

The certification body is required to publish a list of certified products readily available to the public. In most cases the certified list is accessible via the certification body’s website. ?

Author Details:

Patricia Gleason currently serves as President of the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). She brings more than 20 years of management experience serving non-profit, safety-related organisations, and her area of expertise is in conformity assessment in the field of personal protective equipment and safety products.

In this position, Ms Gleason serves as a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Directors, the ANSI Conformity Assessment Policy Committee, the ANSI Accreditation Committee, and is also an ANSI Appeals Board member. She is also serving on the ISO Working Group 29, which is charged with the revision of ISO Guide 65, the standard governing the accreditation of third party certification organisations.

She is a member of the American Society for Safety Engineers. In addition, Ms Gleason serves as an officer on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Homeland Security Committee Executive Committee, the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials, Protective Clothing and Equipment, and is a member of the National Safety Council Exhibitor Advisory Board, serving as chair from 1997 to 1999.

Ms Gleason serves as a member of the NIJ Special Technical Committee on CBRN Protective Clothing and Equipment for Law Enforcement and the NIJ Special Technical Committee on Bomb Suits.
Prior to her appointment at SEI in 1994, Ms Gleason was director of communications with the International Safety Equipment Association and Safety Equipment Institute, where she worked with corporate personnel of safety and protective equipment manufacturers. From 1984 to 1985 she worked with Keller & Heckman as director of government affairs, and from 1982 to 1984 as a liaison/paralegal with the Federal Communications Commission. Ms Gleason received her MBA from Marymount University and her BS from Frostburg State University.

http://www.seinet.org/

 

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Published: 01st Jun 2011 in OSA Magazine

Author


Patricia Gleason


Patricia Gleason currently serves as President of the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). She brings more than 20 years of management experience serving non-profit, safety-related organisations, and her area of expertise is in conformity assessment in the field of personal protective equipment and safety products.

In this position, Ms Gleason serves as a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Directors, the ANSI Conformity Assessment Policy Committee, the ANSI Accreditation Committee, and is also an ANSI Appeals Board member. She is also serving on the ISO Working Group 29 which is charged with the revision of ISO Guide 65, the standard governing the accreditation of third party certification organisations.

She is a member of the American Society for Safety Engineers. In addition, Ms Gleason serves as an officer on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Homeland Security Committee Executive Committee, the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials, Protective Clothing and Equipment, and is a member of the National Safety Council Exhibitor Advisory Board, serving as chair from 1997 to 1999.

Ms Gleason serves as a member of the NIJ Special Technical Committee on CBRN Protective Clothing and Equipment for Law Enforcement and the NIJ Special Technical Committee on Bomb Suits.

Prior to her appointment at SEI in 1994, Ms Gleason was director of communications with the International Safety Equipment Association and Safety Equipment Institute, where she worked with corporate personnel of safety and protective equipment manufacturers. From 1984 to 1985 she worked with Keller & Heckman as director of government affairs, and from 1982 to 1984 as a liaison/paralegal with the Federal Communications Commission. Ms Gleason received her MBA from Marymount University and her BS from Frostburg State University.


http://www.seinet.org/


Patricia Gleason

Website:
http://www.seinet.org/


http://www.seinet.org/

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