The use of adequate and suitable respirators is essential for worker protection, so how do you know if the respirators that are issued to your workers actually fit them?
Tight-fitting respirators must seal to the wearer’s face to provide the expected protection. If there is a leak in the face seal, they may be exposed to harmful airborne contaminants. Fit testing is required by law in many different countries around the world and is being increasingly adopted by companies as best practice even where there is not a mandatory requirement to fit test.
This paper takes a deep dive into the topic of respirator fit testing and guides the reader through the essential requirements for the implementation of an effective respirator fit testing programme.
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The paper examines the types of PPE that benefit from fit validation and introduces the various fit validation methods applicable for eye, hearing and respiratory protection (RPE).
Fit testing is a means of checking that a respirator facepiece matches a person’s facial features and seals adequately to their face. The performance of tight fitting respirators relies on achieving a good seal between the facepiece of the respirator and the wearer’s face.
If the seal is inadequate, contaminated air will take the path of least resistance and will travel through leaks in the face seal. Consequently, a poor seal to the face will reduce the level of protection provided to the wearer.