For all tight fitting respirator masks, this includes disposable masks, half masks and full face masks, it is a UK legal requirement that, at initial selection of the product the wearer is fit tested. Research in the UK has shown that up to half of the Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) currently in use does not provide the wearer with the level of protection expected. One of the major reasons for this is that it simply does not fit.
RPE must be ‘Adequate’ and ‘Suitable’. ‘Adequate’ means that the RPE is right for the hazard and reduces exposure to the level required to protect the wearer’s health, while ‘Suitable’ means that the RPE is right for the wearer and the task and the environment, such that the wearer can work freely and without additional risks due to the RPE.
Fit testing is make, model and brand specific and needs to be carried out by a qualified trainer.
- ‘Fit testing of respiratory protective equipment face pieces’ – HSE OC282/28
- ‘Respiratory protective equipment at work – A practical guide’ – HSG53
- ‘A guide to the FFP3 respirator’ – NHS England in partnership with the Department of Health, Public Health England and the HSE.
Train The Tester
We deliver Fit Tester Training to all NHS Trusts who standardise with Easimask®. The training delivered uses the qualitative method of fit testing:
- 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, fit testing is easy to cascade and this method is suitable for half masks and filtering face pieces
- For full face masks we offer a fit testing service.
- This is an ideal method for wide spread fit testing in NHS Trust.
We can also deliver a Fit Testing service where Trusts need additional support or on the occasions that a small number of full face masks need to be fit tested and the Trust does not have the capabilities of performing the quantitative fit test required for full face masks.
All tight fitting respirators require a tight seal with the face, so when fit testing it is essential that you inform staff that they need to be clean shaven every time they wear a mask. ‘The effect of wearer stubble on the protection given by filtering facepieces (FFP3) and half masks.‘ Health & Safety Laboratory more
The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) together with industry stakeholders and supported by HSE has developed a fit tester accreditation scheme covering the areas of competency listed above. The ‘Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme’ is intended to improve the competency of fit testing in the UK.
All Full Support Healthcare all trainers are Fit2Fit accredited Fit Testers.