Respirator Fit Testing clorkt-admin 2022-05-30 T 15:24:49-07:00

Respirator Fit Testing

Location: At your workplace
Duration: 20-40 mins
(Depending on volume)

What is respirator fit testing, and why is it important?

Respirator fit testing is a critical process that determines whether a respirator fits an individual’s face correctly, ensuring adequate protection against airborne contaminants, including leaks through the face seal. It is crucial because a poorly fitting respirator can jeopardize the safety and health of the wearer by exposing them to harmful airborne particles. Respirators come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s essential to wear the correct size respirator that fits snugly to your face for optimal protection. Respirator fit testing ensures a secure seal around the nose and mouth, preventing air from leaking through gaps between the mask and skin. The fit test involves measuring the leakage around the mask while performing specific movements like turning your head or bending over. The results of the test help determine whether you need a different-sized respirator or type of respirator to ensure your safety on the job.

Who should get a respirator fit test?

Anyone required to wear a respirator as part of their job, such as healthcare workers, construction workers, and industrial workers, should undergo a respirator fit test. Fit testing ensures the respirator has a proper seal and protects against harmful airborne particles.

Wearing a properly sized respirator, such as the 3M™ Aura™ Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+, is mandatory as per federal and provincial regulations. It is essential to ensure that the mask fits the wearer snugly before using any respiratory protection at work, and the fitting process must be documented. Proper fitting guarantees a tight seal to safeguard against harmful vapours and particulates in accordance with CSA standards and occupational health and safety codes. The effectiveness of the surgical mask can be compromised without a proper fit, leading to serious health hazards. Therefore, it is imperative to undergo a medical evaluation before using a respirator in a workplace to determine your ability to wear a respirator. This evaluation should be completed before undergoing a fit test and using a respirator in a hazardous work environment, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard (29 CFR 1910). This step ensures personal safety and compliance with regulations for personal safety in hazardous work environments.

This test is required at least annually or is performed:

Whenever a different size, style, make, or respirator model is used.
When any facial changes occur that could affect fit, such as significant weight fluctuation, dental work or scarring.

Respirator Fit Tests are Essential for Safety

Respirator fit testing is an essential part of any respiratory protection program. A respirator’s assigned protection factor (APF) is only valid if the respirator fits correctly. Tight-fitting respirators, such as filtering facepiece respirators, elastomeric half and full facepiece respirators, and self-contained breathing apparatus used within a workplace respiratory protection program must be fit tested before use.

Once the fit test is complete, it is easy to generate reports using the industry’s most accurate, fastest, and easy-to-use fit tester to increase your staff’s safety, with software and features to improve your program’s efficiency and productivity from training through regulatory compliance reporting. With the help of a tester, you can ensure that your staff’s safety is prioritized and that your program meets regulatory standards. A fit factor of at least 100 is required for half-mask respirators and a minimum fit factor of 500 for a full facepiece negative-pressure respirator.

Respirator Fit Testing in BC

According to the manufacturers, it is recommended to replace filters and cartridges every six months, even if they have not been used. The filter’s effectiveness can deteriorate over time, especially if exposed to air or moisture. It is important to follow this guideline to ensure that your filtration system works optimally and provides clean and safe air or water. Additionally, replacing filters on schedule can help prolong the lifespan of your equipment and prevent costly repairs or replacements in the future. Upon completing the recommended cartridge change, you receive a certificate of completion valid for one year. Annual retesting is mandatory for most organizations to ensure the seal remains effective.

Make Your Workplace Safe with Clockwork Training

Ensuring the safety and compliance of workers is a top priority for any business. One effective way to achieve this is by hiring a professional testing service that can come to your site and conduct multiple tests to ensure that all equipment worn by you and your workers meets safety standards. This helps prevent accidents and injuries and mitigates the risk of non-compliance with regulatory requirements. Investing in regular equipment testing can create a safe work environment while demonstrating your commitment to employee well-being.

Important Information:

All workers must be clean-shaven to ensure a proper seal of the mask before participating in fit testing. It is important to note that very little facial hair is accepted by authorities for this purpose. Even a small amount of facial hair can interfere with the effectiveness of respiratory protective equipment and compromise worker safety. As shown in the picture, any facial hair that falls under the respirator’s sealing surface must be removed. This includes stubble, beards, mustaches, and sideburns. To ensure a proper fit, participants must remove all facial hair that will come into contact with the mask’s seal. It is essential to follow these guidelines to maintain a safe work environment and prevent workplace hazards related to respiratory protection. Additionally, workers should refrain from chewing gum during the fit test to ensure accurate results.

Respirator fit testing is an essential step in personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, as it ensures that the respirator fits properly on a person’s face and provides adequate respiratory protection, including the expected protection. Wearing any other PPE that could interfere with the respirator’s seal during the fit test is important. Many employers are implementing new policies and using new types of PPE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making proper fit testing even more crucial. Fit testing should be done regularly to ensure the reusable respirators continue providing the wearer with the expected protection.