Outdoor Research, LLC. (OR), a leading brand in the tactical and outdoor apparel industries, and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) announced this week that the U.S.-made N95 Flat Fold Respirator Mask from Outdoor Research has achieved NIOSH approval.
Early on in the pandemic, Outdoor Research recognized the need for U.S. manufacturing to help address the national shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the medical and defense communities. Because it already had significant onshore manufacturing operations in Seattle and Los Angeles, it was able to quickly adapt to address this shortage.
Following conversions at its manufacturing facilities, Outdoor Research began producing the 100% American-made, Berry Amendment-compliant Resolute Face Mask and regulated Surgical and N95 respirator masks. It is also producing reusable, technical and functional face masks for the general public featuring integrated filters. All told, Outdoor Research has produced over 2.5 million masks to date.
Approval from NIOSH for the N95 respirator mask is a significant accomplishment. Outdoor Research is one of only 9 organizations to achieve expedited certification. While many companies have entered the mask market temporarily by creating “face coverings” for general public use, Outdoor Research has made a strategic commitment to expanding the company’s manufacturing capabilities to build advanced medical-devices, providing PPE to frontline healthcare workers during and after this current crisis.
“This pivot to medical PPE has required extreme dedication by an innovation team that was truly ‘purpose driven’ to help the end user,” said Jason Duncan, Head of Tactical, Innovation and CSR at Outdoor Research. “There was not a deep analysis of the business case but rather an answer to the question: what can our team do RIGHT NOW to help? You can’t motivate people to work this hard for this long without a purpose-driven goal. The NIOSH regulatory approval represents a success for a weary team that has been as obsessed with employee safety as they have with creating medical PPE. “
Highly respected in the outdoor industry for developing functional solutions for extreme environments, Outdoor Research has a history of successfully leveraging the best commercial market technologies to serve the needs of the armed services and first responders. Over the past two years the company has conducted a comprehensive review of the U.S. supply chain and is in active development with textile mills and materials providers to expand and elevate the capabilities of products that are 100-percent American-made.
Outdoor Research has made significant capital investments designed to improve and modernize its Seattle factory. These investments allow Outdoor Research to take advantage of the company’s global knowledge of design, materials, and innovative manufacturing techniques while producing the next generation of outdoor and tactical products at its facilities. OR has continued to accelerate its product-development cycle, allowing the latest innovations to be rapidly fielded to the end user, helping increase the mobility and protection of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, first responders, outdoor enthusiasts, and now the medical community.
For more about Outdoor Research, visit www.outdoorresearch.com.