Correlation between quantitative fit factors and workplace protection factors measured in actual workplace environments at a steel foundry.
Zhuang-Z; Coffey-CC; Jensen-PA; Campbell-DL; Lawrence-RB; Myers-WR
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 2003 Nov/Dec; 64(6):730-738
Past studies have found little or no correlation between workplace protection factors (WPFs) and quantitative fit factors (FFs). This study investigated the effect of good- and poor-fitting half-facepiece, air-purifying respirators on protection in actual workplace environments at a steel foundry and the correlation between WPFs and FFs. Fifteen burners and welders, who wore respirators voluntarily, and chippers participated in this study. Each subject was fit-tested with two respirator models each with three sizes, for a total of six fit-tests. Models and sizes were assigned this way to provide a wide range of FFs among study participants. Each worker donned the respirator twice per day (at the beginning of the shift and following the lunch break) for 2 days. Quantitative FFs were first obtained for each donning using the PortaCount Plus in a separate room. Without redonning the respirators, workers performed normal work for 1 to 2 hours, and WPFs were measured by collecting ambient and in-facepiece samples simultaneously. A second fit-test was conducted without disturbing the respirator. FFs were obtained by averaging the results from the first and second fit-tests. The resulting FFs had a geometric mean (GM) of 400 (range=10-6010) and a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 6.1. Of the 55 valid donnings, 43 were good fitting (FFs100) and 12 were poor fitting (FFs<100). The WPFs had a GM of 920 (range=13>230,000) and a GSD of 17.8. The WPFs were found to be significantly correlated with the FFs (R2=.55 and p-value=.0001). Therefore, FF was shown to be a meaningful indicator of respirator performance in actual workplace environments.
Respiration; Respirators; Quantitative-analysis; Workplace-monitoring; Air-purification; Air-purifiers; Air-purifying-respirators; Work-environment; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment;
Author Keywords: half-facepiece respirators; in-facepiece sampling; quantitative fit-test; workplace protection factors
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal