Face Mask Fit Testing is designed to protect workers from dangerous chemicals and dusts. Unnecessary exposure in a hazardous environment can lead to serious disorders, including lung disease and cancers. Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is designed to protect against this.
There are two different types of face fit testing, qualitative and quantitative.
By doing a qualitative face mask fit test you can help to ensure that your employees are able to work effectively without taking unnecessary health risks. This will also mean that employers do not face the risk of expensive enforcement action being taken by the HSE if their employees don’t have adequate protection.
The quantitative test is also designed to protect workers from harmful chemicals and dusts. This test is suitable for half masks, re-usable face masks, gas masks, self-contained breathing apparatus, full mask respirators, etc.
A quantitative face fit testing will provide a numerical measure of the RPE’s effectiveness, known as the fit-factor.
This test involves the delegate wearing a respirator of the make, model and size that they use in their workplace. This is then connected to a test machine that will count the particulate in the test room and the particulate in the respirator and from this information calculates a fit-factor.
The test machine used is a specialist piece of equipment known as a Portacount Pro. The Portacount Pro is an ambient particle counting device. It works by measuring the number of particles that leak into the mask and compare it to the particle number challenging it. The delegate wearing the mask will carry out several activities during the test.