ASTM International Signs Memorandum of Understanding with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Fostering government support for ASTM International Committee F23 on Protective Clothing and other standards developing committees related to protective clothing is the central goal of a new memorandum of understanding recently signed by ASTM International and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety. The agreement highlights the role of the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, Pa. to support standards development work related to personal protective clothing and equipment.

The purpose of this MOU, which was signed in December, is to facilitate cooperation between NIOSH and ASTM International involving the determination of performance requirements and cooperation in the development of test methods, product specifications, practices, guides, classifications and terminology related to worker and emergency responder protective clothing and equipment. NIOSH, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NPPTL as part of NIOSH has specific responsibilities relative to the safety or protective clothing and equipment.

NIOSH and Committee F23 worked out several areas of cooperation and partnership within the MOU. NIOSH agreed to participate as members of Committee F23 and subcommittees addressing physical and threat hazard areas aligned with NIOSH areas of interest and responsibility. NIOSH will also provide technical support to the committee in relevant areas and will work toward the use of F23 standards by other standards development organizations.

For its part, Committee F23 agreed to consider requests and suggestions from NIOSH for creating new work items for standards development related to its programs for worker protective clothing selection, use, care and maintenance; provide NIOSH F23 members access to the ASTM members-only Web site so that minutes, ballot items, schedules and other information can be obtained; and determine specific standards development needs for test methods or performance criteria in specifications where NIOSH may have interests and be able to provide technical support.

Committee F 23 establishes performance specifications that assist end users with the selection, use and care of appropriate protective clothing. The committee also develops standards for material and clothing designed and constructed to protect the body from sources of contamination. Committee F23 coordinates its efforts with other ASTM committees, as well as outside organizations having mutual interests, including the National Fire Protection Association, the U.S. Department for Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the American National Standards Institute and the Interagency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability.

For further technical information, contact Jeffrey O. Stull, International Personnel Protection, Inc., Austin, Texas (phone: 512/288-8272; Committee F23 will meet Feb. 7-9, at the February Committee Week in Phoenix, Ariz. For membership or meeting details, contact Stephen Mawn, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9726;


Release #7309

January 1, 2006