APFs Wait is Rewarded

TWO years ago this month, our cover story fretted that three years had gone by since OSHA had promised to issue Assigned Protection Factors for respirators. Why such a long delay? Some end users may not understand or value APFs, but manufacturers consider them an essential element of a sound respiratory program. They relied on an existing ANSI standard but knew its APFs differed from NIOSH recommendations and from APFs within certain substance-specific OSHA regulations.

The respiratory community wanted OSHA to end the confusion by filling the APF gap it had left in its 1998 revised Respiratory Protection Standard, and this magazine agreed.

Our anxiety ended June 6, 2003, when OSHA issued its APF proposed rule and invited comments until Sept. 4. You can turn to page 34 for an explanation of the proposal by Jay A. Parker, CIH, and Brian Shockley, Q.S.S.P., of Bullard Company and an excellent chart taken directly from the proposed rule.

The proposed APFs differ somewhat from NIOSH's Respirator Decision Logic (RDL) and from ANSI Z88.2-1992, the American National Standard on Respiratory Protection. The RDL and OSHA's proposal call for a 50 APF on full facepiece air purifying respirators, which is half the 100 APF in Z88.2-1992. Powered air purifying respirators with hoods or helmets would get a 1,000 APF from OSHA, which agrees with the ANSI standard but is higher than the RDL. Also, there is a significant difference for supplied air respirators: OSHA assigns a 50 APF--but the RDL assigns a 1,000--for half mask, continuous flow or pressure demand SARs; the opposite is true for full facepiece, continuous flow or pressure demand SARs.

Once finalized, the proposed rule will clear the air for the safety and health professionals who have wrestled with conflicting APF data for years. As Parker and Shockley explain, "It puts to rest many questions about the protective capabilities of different respirator types by putting forth recommendations that rely on scientific methods and validation studies." In the end, our long wait is rewarded.

This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

  • Hand Safety Program

    Hand injuries are the #1 preventable industrial accident worldwide. In REThinking Hand Safety, the most comprehensive book on hand safety, you'll learn how top companies have reduced hand injuries by up to 90% and what the most successful hand safety programs have in common. Get your free copy today!

  • Free 1-on-1 Consultations

    Is your company ready to reduce hand injuries? Schedule a free meeting with a Superior Glove hand safety expert and learn how to reduce hand injuries, lower PPE costs, and increase worker productivity. Our 1-on-1 consultations offer personalized advice and recommendations for your specific needs and concerns.

  • Glove 101 Guide

    Choosing the right safety gloves for your workers can be a daunting task. That’s where some basic knowledge of gloves can really come in handy! In this comprehensive guide you’ll find key information you need to know about safety gloves from types of gloves and materials to additives, treatments, safety standards, and more.

  • Sample Program

    Find the right safety gloves for your team and try before you buy—in just 3 easy steps! Simply add the products you want to try to your sample box, complete the sample request form, and wait for your samples to arrive at no cost to you.

  • Water Protection Product Guide

    Find the right safety gloves for your workers that are designed to protect in wet environments. From light and flexible to heavy duty, find the best water-resistant gloves with mechanical protection to safeguard workers.

  • Superior Glove

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2022

    November December 2022

    Featuring:

    • IH: GAS DETECTION
      The Evolution of Gas Detection
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Enhance Your Fall Protection Program with Technology
    • 90TH ANNIVERSARY
      The Future: How Safety WIll Continue to Evolve
    View This Issue