Shorcontrol are delighted to announce that we now provide a dedicated face-fit testing service.
Fit testing is a vital part of ensuring that anyone who must wear RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) that depends on a face-seal is actually getting the protection they expect. We offer quantitative face fit testing at our Naas offices or on a client’s site, using an advanced TSI portacount pro fit testing machine, operated by our trained staff and backed up by the expertise of our occupational hygiene team.
Most types of RPE, whether they be disposable FFP2/FFP3 masks or ½ or full-face masks depend on the edges of the mask sealing to the wearer’s face. If this seal isn’t present, contaminants can bypass the filtering mechanisms of the mask and get straight to the lungs of the wearer.
What many people don’t realise is that a single size, type or style of face mask is unlikely to fit the wide variety of faces present in the typical workplace. Quantitative face-fit testing can determine the integrity of the fit accurately, and if necessary, a more suitable size or type of mask can be found that fits correctly. This should be done before the person is in a position where their health depends upon it.
In addition, people’s facial profiles can change over time, from the normal processes of aging, or fluctuations in weight, surgery etc. A mask that fits well one year may not the next – this is why face-fit testing should be carried out on a regular basis, preferably annually.
How does a fit-test work?
A quantitative fit test is a short (15 – 20 minute) procedure, that is easily performed in a relatively clean area such as an office or admin area. The basic principle is determination of the number of airborne particles inside the mask compared to outside the mask, and hence how effective the mask is. The person to be tested wears their usual RPE, with a small adapter added that allows us to measure the particle density inside the mask. We then ask the user to perform a short sequence of simple exercises designed to stress test the seal, such as turning the head to the side. While doing these exercise we continue to measure the particle density inside and outside the mask simultaneously. The ratio of these gives the fit factor, which essentially tells us how well the mask is performing. If the fit factor is lower than required for the particular type of PPE, then a more suitable type must be found.
When should a fit test be carried out?
A fit test should be carried out:
- As part of the initial selection of RPE.
- Where an untested face piece is already in place.
- In the course of respirator fit training.
- A repeat fit test should be conducted:
- As required by an effective RPE programme (it is recommended that repeat tests are conducted at least annually).
- If the wearer experiences significant weight gain or loss.
- If the wearer undergoes substantial dental work.
- If the wearer develops any facial changes (scars, moles etc) around the face seal area.
- Fit test records should be stored by the employer. These records must be kept available for inspection on request.
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 045 898198 a quotation or for further information