Simulated Workplace Protection Factor (SWPF)

Last Updated: July 28, 2018

Definition - What does Simulated Workplace Protection Factor (SWPF) mean?

The simulated workplace protection factor (SWPF) is a value indicating the level of protection provided by a respirator when subjected to a simulated work environment. To determine the SWPF for a specific type of respirator, air samples from within the respiratory inlet covering are compared to those from the ambient air.

The protection factor is a ratio of the concentration of contaminants a worker would inhale while wearing the respirator to that which would be inhaled if he or she wore no protection. When a simulated workplace protection factor is calculated, the work environment is created solely for the purpose of testing the respirator's capabilities.This is in contrast to a workplace protection factor assessment which is conducted in an employee's actual workplace under operational conditions. For either type of test, Proper sampling requires that the respirator be fitted properly and used correctly.

WorkplaceTesting explains Simulated Workplace Protection Factor (SWPF)

A respirator is a wearable piece of personal protective equipment designed to protect the user from airborne contaminants in the environment. Protection is provide either through the filtration of contaminants from the air before it is inhaled or the supply of air from a source outside of the contaminated environment. Different types of respirators provide different levels of protection. To determine whether a specific model or type of respirator can provide adequate protection in a workplace setting, testing is conducted.

One such type of testing is to determine a respirator's simulated workplace protection factor (SWPF). The SWPF is just one consideration used to select the best respirator for a particular employee or job task. Mask fit, the individual worker's medical needs, physical limitations of the worksite, and worker comfort are additional factors that may be taken into consideration when making a respirator selection.

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