Respirator Fit Testing

Fit Tight, Fit Right

Chemsafety offers Quantitative Respirator Fit Testing using our TSI Portacount 8048.  Contact us today to book in fit testing for your team.

What is Respirator Fit Testing?

Anyone who wears a negative pressure respirator for work must be fit tested to ensure their respirator fits their face correctly.  That way it is assured that the respirator is protecting them from the hazards they are exposed to.

This is required under AS/NZS 1715 and is covered under Regulation 17 of the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016. 

Why Quantitative?

There are two types of fit testing; qualitative and quantitative.  Qualitative (or the hood method) involves the wearer placing a hood over their head so that very bitter or very sweet solution can be sprayed into the hood.  If the wearer can taste the solution through their respirator then the respirator isn’t protecting them and if they can’t taste the solution then the respirator is protecting them.  This method is reliant on the wearer being able to taste the solution, being honest if they taste the solution, and only gives a pass / fail result.

Quantitative fit testing measures how well the respirator fits the person by counting how many particles are in the air outside the respirator and how many particles are inside the respirator.  This allows us to calculate a fit factor so you can be sure how well the respirator is fitting them. 

To do the quantitative fit test we purchased the latest TSI Portacount 8048.

What Happens During a Fit Test?

A fit test can be broken down into several steps:

  • Training – We talk to the wearer about how to use and maintain their respirator.  This includes how to carry out self checks so they can check the respirator seal before each use. 
  • Initial Fit – We help the wearer put on their respirator and adjust the straps to get it to fit their face correctly.  Then we do a real time check using the Portacount to make sure we have the right fit before running the test. 
  • Fit Test – The 7 minute test gets the wearer to perform a number of tasks while it measures the particles inside and outside the respirator.  These include normal breathing, heavy breathing, moving the head, talking, and bending down. 
  • Pass Result – The wearer is issued with a certificate. 
  • Fail Result – The fit is adjusted or the size or type of respirator is changed until a good fit is achieved.

Facial Hair

Facial hair in the sealing surface of the respirator can allow contaminants to leak into the mask.  This puts the user at risk of exposure to dangerous levels of contaminants.  It is important that anyone wearing a respirator knows that they cannot have facial hair in the seal area, see schematic below.

  

What type of Respirator?

If you are unsure what type of respirator your team members need then you can talk to one of our occupational hygiene consultants. 

Undertaking exposure air monitoring can determine if there is an exposure hazard and what controls are needed.  If respiratory protection is required we can tell you what level of protection, what type of filter to use, and how often to change your filters.