Respirator Fit Testing

RPE Face Fit TestingAs G&L Consultancy is a specialist asbestos management company, we fully appreciate the need to have our own employees face fitted for using tight fitting respiratory protective equipment.  As with all the services that G&L Consultancy offer, quality is at the forefront of what we do.

Estimates suggest that thousands die or develop life-changing illnesses each year as a result of exposure at some point in their working lives to hazardous substances; asbestos and silica being prime examples. A large percentage of these cases could be prevented in the future by the correct selection and use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Under legislation face fit testing must be carried out if:

  • a risk assessment shows that tight fitting RPE is required, and;
  • individual fit testing has not previously been completed.

Under legislation repeat face fit testing must be carried out:

  • if the employee shows substantial weight change, or;
  • if the employee has undergone severe dental treatment, or;
  • if the employee has had any scarring which may affect the seal, or;
  • if the make; model or size of RPE has been changed, or;
  • on an annual basis, if the RPE is used as a primary means of exposure control.

Face fit testing ensures that an adequate seal can be formed between the face seal of the chosen respirator and the wearer’s face.

After conducting a workplace assessment, it is no longer enough to supply a respirator, which meets a particular standard. It is the employer’s duty to ensure that an employee can obtain an effective face seal with the chosen RPE. No two faces are the same and therefore, despite advances in respiratory technology, one tight fitting respirator will not fit everyone.

Face fit testing as part of the respirator selection process saves time, money and is an investment in the safety and well-being of the workforce.

G&L Consultancy can provide either quantitative or qualitative face fit testing at our offices in Somerset and Northern Ireland, or at your chosen workplace as required.

RPE Face Fit Testing Enquiry Form

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Quantitative Face Fit Testing

Quantitative face fit testing determines that a tight fitting respirator provides an adequate014 seal to the wearer’s face by measuring microscopic particles that exist in ambient air. The test measures the number of particles outside the respirator and then measures the concentration of those particles that leak into the respirator whilst the wearer carries out a number of specific exercises.

For this test G&L Consultancy use the universally recognised TSI Portacount Plus Respirator Fit Tester and carries out the testing in accordance with HSE Operational Circular HSE OC 282/28 and Guidance Note HSG53.

The types of RPE that can be fit tested with this method include:

  • P1, P2 and P3 Disposable Respirators;
  • Ori-Nasal (Half Mask) Respirators;
  • Full Face Respirators;
  • Power Assisted both Full Face and Ori-Nasal Respirators;
  • Breathing Apparatus both Full Face and Ori-Nasal.

The benefits of quantitative testing are that all types of RPE can be tested with this method; the machine counts the particles and calculate a fit factor and the tester does not have to rely on the person’s word that the mask fits properly. After the completed test the machine produces a pass / fail computer generated report.

Qualitative Face Fit Testing

Qualitative Fit Testing is a pass / fail test that is dependent on a subjective response from the respirator wearer.

bitrex-1The person is fit tested while wearing a respirator inside a hood, a bitter tasting aerosol (Biterex) is sprayed inside the hood whilst the person carries out set exercises, if the wearer detects the taste of the spray during the test than the fit test is deemed as unsatisfactory.

Qualitative fit testing is only suitable for disposable respirators and half mask respirators.

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