PPE Testing Laboratory

Related topics: Health professionals

PPE testing laboratories are ISO-accredited laboratory testing facilities specialized in researching, developing and testing personal protection equipment (PPE), technical textiles and textile-based materials.

The laboratory’s primary mandate is to ensure the safety of our healthcare workers and patients through:

  • rigorous process and quality controls,

  • quality assurance to North American and International performance standards,

  • research and development, and

  • collaboration with national and international testing partners and agencies.

Research and development

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is an established health-care network with a global reputation for excellence in care and innovation. Located on the campus of Vancouver General Hospital, a level one trauma centre and quaternary care centre, and the main referral site for the province of British Columbia, the lab is ideally situated to access a range of clinical and operational expertise insights to support research and development of new PPE and PPE material.   Additionally, strong ties to the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, home to more than 1,500 nationally and internationally renowned research and health professionals, position the laboratory on the cutting edge of innovation in personal protective equipment and related materials.

Our partners chose to work with us:

  • To access a well equipped, state-of-the-art laboratory operating within in a strong quality framework.

  • To access clinical, occupational health, research, and  engineering expertise.

  • To access public sector funding for research and development.

Services we provide: 

  • laboratory analysis of PPE and related material,
  • new test development,
  • comparative studies,
  • collaborative research,
  • clinical validation of PPE, and
  • expert consulting

See the PPE Testing Laboratory Test Menu to see what's available.


Quality management

The laboratory operates under a quality management framework designed with the best practices of a variety of quality systems to create a network of high-performance standards:

  • ISO/IEC Standard Number 17025: 2017 General Requirements for the Competency of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. 
  • ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems — Requirements
  • OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)
  • High Reliability Principles, Weick and Sutcliffe

Our philosophy is to embed quality at all levels of the laboratory from the leadership to the point-of-service, ensuring staff have reliable and meaningful data to effect and drive improvement activities while integrating high reliability principles so the laboratory can anticipate and act on the best results we can provide.

To meet this vision, we have engaged the Standards Council of Canada to provide independent third-party verification of our quality framework by participating in their laboratory accreditation process and we participate in voluntary proficiency testing with qualified partner laboratories. 

The laboratory received accreditation to ISO 17025 – General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration for the current test menu:

  • N95 NaCl Particulate Filtration Testing (TEB-APR-STP-0059)
  • N95 Quantitative Fit Testing (CSA Z94.4-18 Section 9, Annex C)
  • Surgical/Isolation Gown Water Impact Testing (AATCC TM42-2017e)
  • Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles (16 CFR Part 1610)
  • N95 inhalation and exhalation resistance (NIOSH TEB-APR-STP-0007 and NIOSH TEB-APR-STP-0003)
  • Resistance to penetration by synthetic blood (ASTM  F1862/F1862M-17)
  • Test Method for Water Resistance: Hydrostatic Pressure (AATCC - TM127)

Learn more about the PPE Testing Laboratory's accreditation.  

COVID-19 impact

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, global PPE supply chains were severely disrupted and combined with heavy PPE usage through the world, B.C. faced an imminent shortage of all types of PPE, particularly N95 respirators. It became abundantly clear that B.C. needed to establish internal PPE testing capacity.

The laboratory, completed in June 2020, is located on the Vancouver General Hospital campus and was designed and constructed specifically for PPE testing.

Contact us

Telephone: (604) 875-4111 ext. 67418
Fax: (604) 875- 5918
Email: PPEtesting@vch.ca