Occupational Safety and Health
- In situ data available (on-site)
This CDC invention entails methods and apparatuses for in situ testing seal integrity and improved operation of respiratory masks (respirators). A variety of external factors, such as individual face shape, user environment, mask age and material used to construct the respirator, can lead to device malfunction and failure to sufficiently protect a user. To address these limitations, this invention relies on ultrasonic wave detection to assess face seal quality and other potential leak paths, as needed. Airborne ultrasound travel through atmosphere and will travel through respirator leaks. Applying this phenomena to occupational health and safety, CDC researchers have developed novel ultrasonics technology to identify and quantify respirator seal leakage in real-time. Small, low power consuming, and inexpensive apparatuses and methods for generating and detecting ultrasound may be easily obtained and customized for a given respirator and/or application.
By correlating user activity to seal sensor data, a precise understanding and awareness of respirator integrity may be obtained. When coupled with a subject alarm, these integrated values can immediately alert a user when a threshold of environmental exposure has been reached. Such real-time feedback will be invaluable to users in dangerous occupational activities, such as firefighters, biodefense and chemical spill first responders, mining applications, etc. Additionally, this invention possesses immense value for respirator mask manufacturers and workplace training programs for employees engaged in mandatory respirator usage applications.
- Manufacturers of respirators, leakage assessment devices and applied ultrasonic technology
- Regulators of respiratory protection plans
- Biohazard, biodefense and hazardous chemical handling and disposal
- Surgery/hospital training and use
- Small, low power consuming, and inexpensive apparatuses and methods may be employed
- Real-time monitoring and feedback greatly diminish risk of user exposure to environmental hazards