Your Ultimate Guide to Respiratory Fit Testing

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Many workers in different industries get exposed to hazardous materials, including dust, chemical fumes, and other dangerous airborne substances. For this reason, it's imperative to set up preventative measures to minimize the risks posed by such substances. Nothing is as more important as the health and safety of employees in a workplace. One way to ensure this is by providing respirators to all employees working in risky conditions.

Respirators deter contaminants from causing harm to the respiratory system. Today, there are numerous makes and models of respirators worn differently. That means that none of them can guarantee 100% protection from exposure. The only way to be sure is to conduct respirator fit testing. 

Respirator fit tests help ensure that the respirator fits appropriately on the wearer's face. As such, this guarantees the highest possible protection levels for employees. The three most notable elements on a respirator's fit include:

  1. The Seal — The seal is a vital element of paramount importance since it protects the face from the respirator itself. Hence, it must be fitted tightly against the skin. Any defects on the seal can allow contaminated air in and put the wearer at significant risk. 

  2. The Compatibility — It's essential for each respirator to work with any other available PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) present. Common PPE includes face shields, safety glasses, and hard hats. Since all of them might require to be worn at once, they must fit comfortably as a single unit without one interfering with the other.

  3. The Stability — By properly fitting the respirator, it remains intact without moving or falling from the wearer's face. For proper fit, the users must go through a series of exercises to determine whether the seal can remain intact while working. A poor fit is when the respirator moves when the wearer moves, which can risk the seal's integrity. 

When Should a Fit Test be Done?

 A respirator fit test is required once a new employee reports for the first time to work. Most importantly, it would help if you made it mandatory for all workers operating in hazardous conditions. Depending on the working environment, you might want to consider various respirators, including air-purifying, full-face reusable, and half-face disposable respirators.

Another instance of requiring a fit test is when newer respirator models or makes are introduced. Weight loss or gain might affect an employee's facial structure, which will demand a new respirator fit test. Besides these occasions, always remember to conduct an annual respirator fit test.

To get help with fit testing, contact a company like FitTick.