Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

X. Kevin He

Committee Co-Chair

Steven Guffey

Committee Member

Steven Guffey

Committee Member

Anna Allen


For those working in the healthcare field, personal protective equipment is vital. Healthcare workers are often first responders when it comes to dealing with patients who are infected or when a disease outbreak occurs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all healthcare operations to provide employee protection against blood borne pathogens. With the increase of life-threatening disease outbreaks, such as SARS in 2003 and Ebola in 2014, it is of the upmost importance to make sure respirators are best suited for users and acceptable for long term use. It has been shown through previous studies that due to certain factors, respirator user non-compliance is common. Such factors include but are not limited to headaches, thermal discomfort, eye discomfort, interference with duties, etc. By conducting the current study, data was collected on the above factors based off of user opinions of respirators. This study set out to determine if there was significant difference between sixteen different categories, which included rating respirators. The study included four respirators: one filtering face piece respirator (FFR) and three powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR’s). Subjects recruited were healthcare workers and had prior knowledge of respirators. Subjects conducted the study at a simulation laboratory and each subject was instructed to wear each of the four respirators and perform a list of tasks common to HCW’s. After completing all tasks, subjects completed a questionnaire based on each respirator. Results showed that the N95 mask was preferred over PAPR’s in five of sixteen categories. Within the PAPR’s themselves, MAXAIR performed slightly better than Airmate, while Versaflo typically was outperformed by all respirators.