The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) [Respiratory Protection Standard], [29 CFR 1910.134], requires that fit tests be conducted for those workers required to wear respiratory protection. It requires the respirator users to be fit tested to confirm the fit of any respirator such as N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators (N95 FFRs) and elastomeric respirators, that forms a seal on your face before using it in the workplace.
What is involved in a Respiratory Fit Test?
A respirator fit test is a procedure to determine if a specific respirator properly fits an individual’s face and provides adequate protection. The fit test typically involves the following steps:
- Selection of the appropriate size and model of respirator
- Placement of the respirator on the individual’s face
- Seal check – a visual and/or tactile check to ensure the respirator properly seals the face.
- Fit testing – wearing the respirator while performing normal breathing conducting sensitivity test using one of the approved sensitivity solutions.
- Performing seven different exercises while wearing the respirator and conducting sensitivity testing. The test is terminated at any time the aerosol is detected.
What are the main types of testing methods?
There are two main types of testing methods: qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative fit test uses a taste or odor to detect any leaks in the respirator’s seal, while the quantitative fit test uses specialized equipment to measure the amount of air leaking into the respirator.
OSHA allows both these methods of respirator fit tests.
How often does one need to do fit tests?
Fit tests must be done at least annually to ensure the respirator continues to fit properly. As each brand, model and size of respirators will fit slightly differently, fit tests should be done annually and every time a new model, manufacturer type/brand or size is used. Also, fit tests must be done if there are significant changes in weight, facial or dental alterations in the person using the respirator.
New NISOH study supports annual Respirator Fit Testing: Read Here
For additional information, see the NIOSH infographic, Why are annual fit tests required?
ARCpoint Labs of Worcester offers Respirator Fit testing to companies and individuals in many nearby communities Auburn, Boylston, Clinton, Millbury, Northborough, Grafton, Shrewsbury, West Boylston, Worcester, Acton, Hudson, Bolton, and Stow.