A respirator fit test is designed to make sure that the respirator you’re wearing will actually protect you from harmful elements in the air you’re breathing in. It may sound odd, but there are many instances where respirators aren’t actually capable of performing their job correctly. With a proper Respirator Fit Test, though, that won’t be an issue- you’ll know that your mask fits properly, and you can relax knowing that your safety isn’t at risk anymore. But what do you need to know about respirator fit tests? Keep reading to find out!
What Is A Respirator Fit Tester?
A Respirator Fit Tester is a person who checks to see if your mask fits you properly. This person helps test how well your mask will protect you from certain dangers in your work environment. This could include dusts, gases, vapors or other substances. These persons are often referred to as fit testers or mask fitters because of their role in making sure you have an effective air filter. There are many reasons why having an improperly fitted respirator can put you at risk for health issues like cancer and other respiratory problems.
How Does One Take A Respirator Fit Test?
Make sure your respirator is in good condition. Remove it from its packaging and check for any damage. If there are any problems, do not use it until you’ve returned it to your employer or replaced it with a new one. Your employer must be able to tell you if they need you to test your mask before using it or if they trust that you can figure out how to test it yourself (or find out more information about testing). Always consult your manual when figuring out how best to perform a fit test for your respirator model.
Type Of Respirators That Need Fit Testing?
Respirators that use a tight fitting facepiece and/or a respirator with an organic vapor cartridge may require fit testing. Examples of these types of respirators include: half masks, negative pressure full face piece air purifying respirators (APRs), as well as powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs). Most disposable particulate filtering facepiece (dust mask) do not require fit testing. If you are not sure, simply feel free to contact us before buying your respirator to make sure it is one that requires fit testing. Please note: for half masks with exhalation valves, both types are usually acceptable for purchase. It is up to each employer to determine which type they want their employees wearing.
How Often Do You Need To Get A Respirator Fit Test?
In addition to wearing a respirator correctly, you should also get a fit test done as part of your respiratory protection program. In general, fit tests should be performed at least annually, if not more often. Make sure you’re getting an annual fit test! As your face changes over time (by growing facial hair or losing weight) or if you change jobs that require different respirators, then it’s important to update your mask to maintain proper respirator function and compliance with regulations. Without making these regular adjustments to your equipment, you may face penalties for noncompliance with regulations and workplace injury/illness hazards.
Who Can Offer Respirator Fit Testing?
Respirator fit testing is a crucial part of a respirator program in every facility. However, it is important to understand who can perform respirator fit testing in your workplace. Fit tests strictly must be performed by a qualified Respirator Fit Tester using an OSHA-accepted protocol based on regulatory requirements and consensus standards.