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Respirator fit test

Quantitative face fit testing

A face fit test is a straightforward test which checks whether a person’s mask fits their face shape and size. Many common types of respirators are tight-fitting where performance relies on a good seal between the breathing apparatus and the wearer's face. While wearing tight-fitting respirators, workers must ensure they have an highly effective face seal. This means being clean-shaven or just having facial hair that doesn't interfere with the fitting surfaces and the valve of the respirator. If there isn't a good seal, contaminated air will leak into the respirator and the user may not get the level of protection that is needed to protect their health.

Quantitative face fit testing uses techniques such as particle counting to effectively measure the quality of the seal. We choose to use the TSI Portacount Pro when conducting this method of testing. Currently, it is the only fit tester on the market that can test all different kinds of masks.

The TSI Portacount Pro works by counting particles. The wearer is required to participate in exercises that will simulate normal work practices to check the validity of the seal. The Portacount will then measure the number of particles that enter the mask at this time, comparing it to the number of particles which are challenging it.

Who should be tested?

All wearers of tight fitting face pieces e.g. respirators or compressed air breathing apparatus need a fit test. Why wear high performance respiratory protective equipment then give up the protection if the mask does not fit the wearer correctly?

Why do we need it?

To ensure that the protective mask you wear is suitable for your face profile, in order to maximise protection against harmful airborne substances. Recent research has shown that around 50% of RPE used does not offer the wearer the level of protection assumed. The main reason for this is that is simply does not fit.

Get started

To book in for a fit test or for a quote for a group of workers please contact us. Prior to conducting fit testing with us you will need to:

  • Specify what brand and model RPE is being used (is it a Sundstrom SR100 or a 3M 9322A+)
  • Understand how to select, use and maintain the RPE (is it for Silica, or is for a Gas)
  • Know how to don the RPE
  • Be 100% clean shaven for the testing (we cannot test workers with stubble or beards)
  • Not smoke or eat or drink half an hour prior to the testing
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