Face Fit Testing
Where Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is used, it must be able to provide adequate protection for individual wearers. RPE can’t protect the wearer if it leaks. A major cause of leaks is poor fit – tight-fitting facepieces need to fit the wearer’s face to be effective.
As people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes it is unlikely that one particular type or size of RPE facepiece will fit everyone. Face Fit Testing will ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer.
At Hygieia Group, we provide a Qualitative and Quantitative Face Fit Testing service and only use individuals who are fully trained and “fit2fit” accredited.
Qualitative uses an aerosol of either a bitter tasting substance (Bitrex) or a sweet substance (Saccharine) to challenge the face seal whilst the wearer undertakes 7 exercises (in a hood to contain the test substance). If after the 7 exercises (7 minutes), the candidate has not detected (tasted) the test substance, then that is regarded as a pass and a fit factor of 100 is assigned. (NB it is part of the protocol that at the end of the test, the candidate is required to break the seal to demonstrate how effective the seal has been).
Quantitative is a much more exact method and uses a Portacount particle counting device. This device counts the particles inside the candidate’s respirator and compares the levels to the ambient atmosphere. At the end of each of the 7 exercises (conducted whilst the candidate is walking on a treadmill or using a stepper) a calculation is made as to whether the Fit Factor is adequate before the candidate moves on to the next exercise.
Hygieia Group can support clients through Qualitative or Quantitative Fit Testing to ensure the workforce are adequately protected and are correctly using the chosen Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE). It is no longer sufficient to simply provide an employee with a respirator, it is also the employer’s responsibility to ensure the chosen respirator/mask has the potential to adequately seal to the wearer’s face. We are happy to visit your premises or the site where your employees are currently working, we also aim (where possible) to bring an alternative device to ensure we only leave once 100% of those tested have identified a suitable respirator.