A face fit test is a simple test which checks whether a person’s mask fits their face shape & size.
Where respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is used it must be able to provide protection for individual wearers. RPE can’t protect the wearer if it leaks.
Recent research has shown that around 50% of RPE used does not offer the wearer the level of protection assumed. 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. Fit testing will ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer.
Why is it important?
There’s also a legal obligation to protect employees from solvents, fumes, dusts, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health. The supporting guidance for COSHH, CLaW and CAW recommends face fit testing as a method of ensuring an adequate face seal.
The HSE may prosecute for not testing unless it can be proven that procedures meet or exceed the face fit testing protocol laid down in HSE guidance, OC 282/28.
What is involved in Face Fit Testing?
To carry out an adequate Face Fit Test you are required to appoint a Fit2FiT Accredited Instructor. All members of the Fit2Fit Accredited body are fully qualified and will have taken and passed the industry recognised exam and practical assessment for Face Fit Testing.
The test is conducted by two forms of face fit testing; qualitative and quantitative, both result in matching an individual’s face shape with a compatible mask to ensure a tight seal is achieved.
- Used only for disposable and half face masks.
- The individual wears a hood over the head and shoulders and the tester sprays a bitter solution into the hood.
- The wearer carries out a series of exercises, such as turning the head from side to side.
- If the individual can taste the solution, there is a break in the mask’s seal.
- Used for all tight fitting respirators, including Full Face Masks.
- The mask is attached to a particle counting machine (a Portacount).
- The machine detects whether airborne particles are passing into the mask via a break in the seal.
- At the end of the test the machine will give a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.
Latus Health has a number of fully trained Fit2Fit Accredited instructors, if you require RPE testing give us a call to arrange a test; 01482 633048