OSHA sets final respirator protection factors

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration finalized the assigned protection factors (APFs) for respirator protection programs. The APF for N95 filtering facepiece respirators will remain at 10, which means that 10% of contaminated air could penetrate the mask even when it is properly fitted.

Some respiratory protection experts had argued that the N95s are not that effective and should have received an APF of five, which would have indicated that 20% of contaminated air could penetrate the mask. That was also the view of a panel of industry representatives and respiratory protection experts who met as the ANSI Z88.2 committee, accredited by the American National Standards Institute and sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.