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Face Fit Testing for Respirator Selection

Face Fit Testing for Respirator Selection

Posted on Monday 29th September 2014 by Graham

Qualitative v Quantitative...... which is better...????

What is face fit testing?

It is a method for checking that a tight-fitting face piece matches the person's facial features and seals adequately to the wearer’s face.

Why do face fit testing?

The performance of tight-fitting respirators depends on achieving a good contact and seal between the wearer’s skin and the face seal of the respirator.

People come in different shapes and sizes and faces vary significantly in shape and size so it is very unlikely that one type of respirator will fit everyone. If the fit is correct the individual will not know and will reduce the protection provided to the wearer given false hope that they are protected when in fact they may not be protected!!!

How is fit testing carried out?

There are two basic types of RPE fit testing - qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative fit testing:

Qualitative fit testing is a simple pass/fail test based on the wearer’s subjective assessment of the leakage, via the face seal region, of a test agent. These tests are relatively simple to perform and are suitable for half masks and filtering face pieces.

Quantitative fit testing:

Quantitative fit testing provides a numerical measure of the fit that is called a fit factor. These tests give an objective measure of face fit. They require specialised equipment, such as a port-a-count machine and are more complicated to carry out than qualitative methods.

Which test is the best...?

There are more and more companies now offering face fit testing as part of the training as a “Bolt on”, but most only offer qualitative (taste test), this is the simplest of the test and can be subjective based on the wearer informing the tester that they can or cant taste the solution. Asbestos Training Limited offer both types of face fit testing but generally advise against this test based on experience of individuals failing this test on purpose to avoid wearing RPE, there is no way the person testing can prove or refute the individuals response to the test.

Asbestos Training Limited would recommend the quantitative face fit testing as this test is proven by a particle counting machine and cannot be purposely failed by the wearer. The biggest problem for companies offering quantitative face fit testing is the expense of the equipment v the cost of the qualitative test equipment. With the investment in a port-a-count machine, this would normally have to be recharged back to the individual or company requiring the face fit test, normally £35.00 + VAT per test. This can sometime be cost prohibitive and some companies will not have the test carried out. Asbestos Training Limited offer any person attending a Non-Licensable course FREE Quantitative Face Fit Testing, we believe we are the only company to offer the better of the two face fit test free of charge, and when the delegates refresher training comes round a repeat face fit test is also carried out... wait for it... again FREE OF CHARGE!!!!

So when booking your non-licensable asbestos training check to see if the training provider will provide face fit testing, which type, qualitative or quantitative and will they charge you for it. Asbestos Training Limited will offer quantitative face fit testing free off charge along with quality training at an affordable price.

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