Essential Things You Need to Know About Respirator Fit Test


People working in hazardous environments with harmful gases, infectious respiratory diseases, dust, and fumes require to wear respirators. The respirators will protect you against dangerous conditions, thus allowing you to breathe fresh air free from toxins. However, before you use a respirator, you need to conduct a respirator fit test as well as a medical examination.

What is the respirator fit test?

It is a test taken to confirm if a respirator fits well without having the risk of leaks. The test is supposed to take place before one fits the respirator to wear it in the actual job. The person using the respirator must test the respirator using a respirator of similar make and size as the one to use in the situation.

Methods of Respiratory Fit Testing

There are two types of tests: quantitative and qualitative test

The quantitative test is a type of respiratory testing that involves the use of a machine that tests for leakages around the face seal. The occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have accepted the following test protocols:

  • Using a generated aerosol in a test chamber
  • Using condensed nuclei counter( ambient aerosol)
  • Use of Controlled negative pressure. It involves creating a vacuum to cut off air temporarily.

The amount of leakage is measured using a fit factor. You need a fit factor of about 100 to wear a half-mask respirator. You need a fit factor of at least 500 for a full piece pressure respirator.

On the other hand, a qualitative test is only used to test tight-fitting half-mask respirators or those that cover the mouse and nose. The qualitative fit test depends on your sense of smell and taste, or the reactions you have to irritants. The masks should have tested a fit factor of 100 or less. The test depends on a harmless chemical, which is known as Bitrex. This test is mainly used to test if the mask is in good working order. For this test, you will perform the following exercises:

  • Breathing normally
  • Deep breathing
  • Bending over
  • Talking
  • Moving your head side to side
  • Move your head up and down.
  • Normal breathing again

Preparing For a Respirator Fit Test

Before you start the test, there are a few things you should do

  1. Shave. Facial hair interferes with the ability to respiratory fit to function optimally. OSHA recommends that respirators, especially males, should shave before they carry out the test.
  2. Fill in a medical examination questionnaire. A health provider has to review the questionnaire before you start the test
  3. Use protective equipment. If you need to use other personal protective equipment in the actual job, you need to use them in the test.

Sure Fit Services will offer you quality quantitative and qualitative fit testing. We will come to your worksite or at any other agreed location. Please contact SureFit to book an appointment with us today.

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