The Importance of Fit Testing

Did you know that according to the Journal of International Society for Respiratory Protection, only 57.3% of organizations conduct fit testing?

Why is Fit Testing important?……

The Importance of Fit Testing
Did you know that according to the Journal of International Society for Respiratory Protection, only 57.3% of organizations conduct fit testing?Why Fit Testing is important?
Each day millions of workers use respirators on the job for protection from respiratory inhalation hazards, such as toxic vapors, gases and particulate substances found in the air.* Fit testing is vital to your employees to ensure they are wearing a properly fitted respirator.
* Research has found that a high percentage of respiratory users are wearing the incorrect size respirator
which can lead to respiratory health issues.

Who needs to be fit tested?

* OSHA Regulations (Standard 29 CFR part 1910.134) require employers to provide appropriate respiratory protection equipment when engineering control measures are not feasible or do not completely control the identified hazards.
* OSHA requires fit testing prior to initial use and at least annually for all employees who are required to wear respirators with a tight-fitting facepiece.
* Passing a fit-test does not guarantee that every time a wearer dons a facepiece that an adequate fit will be achieved. It merely confirms that a particular facepiece has the potential to provide a sufficient fit.
* The wearer must always fit the mask correctly and perform the appropriate fit check procedure provided in the manufacturer’s user instructions prior to each donning.
* A change in dental or face altering procedures, weight changes or changes in facial hair would require a new fit test to be performed.

What are the types of Fit Testing?
Per OSHA 29 CFR 1910, there are two methods of fit-testing: quantitative fit testing and qualitative fit testing

Qualitative Fit Testing (QLFT)
QLFT is based on an individuals sensitivity to taste, smell, or irritation. The test agents allowed by OSHA include Bitrex®, Isoamyl Acetate (banana oil), Saccharin, and Stannic Chloride (irritant smoke).

Quantitative Fit Testing (QNFT)
QNFT provides a numeric measure of facepiece leakage. Ambient aerosol systems calculate a respirator fit factor by measuring ambient air particles inside and outside the facepiece using a device such as a PORTACOUNT® machine made by TSI.

**Image courtesy of Honeywell