What Does Workplace Protection Factor (WPF) Mean?
The workplace protection factor (WPF) is the numeric value assigned to the level of protection that a specific type and model of respirator provides to an individual. The workplace protection factor is determined based on the level of protection provided when rated equipment is in good working condition and used properly.
The workplace protection factor is calculated using air samples taken from workers who are wearing the personal protective equipment (PPE) while engaging in their normal work tasks. Thus, it represents the protection afforded by the respirator in a real, working environment. Similar measures using simulated workplace conditions are also used in some instances to assess the effectiveness of a specific types of respirators in differing workplace conditions.
WorkplaceTesting Explains Workplace Protection Factor (WPF)
The workplace protection factor (WPF) for a respirator is determined by measuring the actual exposure levels to airborne contaminants from inside the respirator's protective zone. Samples are taken from the air within the respiratory inlet covering to assess the purity of the air a wearer is breathing while in the work environment.
This air quality measure is then compared to the levels of contaminants in the ambient air. By comparing these two values, researchers can assess how effective the wearer's respirator is at filtering or shielding him or her from airborne hazards in the workplace.
This information is useful in determining whether a selected type of respirator is the appropriate choice for the types of hazardous substances an employee encounters in the work environment. For example, some types of respirators are effective against large particulates such as dust but less so when protecting against gases or fumes.