What is a Respirator Fit Test? It is used to ensure that your particle-filtering mask fits properly and does not separate from your face.
During the assessment, you should look for any signs of separation or discomfort. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your employer immediately for additional training.
The CDC has been working tirelessly throughout this global pandemic to ensure we are using the correct devices for air filtration. For a list of other CDC-approved facial coverings click here, otherwise, you may be putting your employees or yourself at risk for communicable disease.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry in the workplace. After all, we are supposed to exist to live, not to work. But at what cost to the employer?
What Is This Going To Cost Me Or My Company?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I know the most important thing to you and your company (outside of safety) is cost. If you need a face mask, you need to get it examined regularly.
These assessments are necessary for workers in the health industry who are exposed to airborne particles. They can help you determine the proper face mask for each employee, and ensure their safety.
The cost for these evaluations varies. Some providers charge $15 to $30, and others may not even be open for business during COVID-19.
If you’re unsure about whether your employees need a face mask, you can use the services of an outside organization like the Contractors Association or another organization.
Before using a face mask, you must have a qualitative respirator fit test. Generally, this assessment lasts for a year and must be repeated if you have had significant changes to your face. This includes major dental work, facial scars, and visible weight loss.
Also, it’s important to remember that the assessment is only valid for the size of the face mask that you’re currently wearing. Here are some tips to make sure that you’re doing it right.
In this type of evaluation, you’ll wear a face mask for several minutes while performing several exercises to stress the mask.
Then, you’ll compare the concentration of a challenge agent (a mixture of airborne and atmospheric contaminants) inside your mask with the ambient concentration to determine whether or not you need to increase the snug factor of the face mask.
A quantitative respirator fit assessment is an important part of workplace safety. During this type of evaluation, the worker is exposed to a concentration of particles in the environment and the mask that they are wearing.
They must then perform five or six examinations in order to ensure that they are wearing the proper mask for the conditions.
Qualitative test methods rely on the senses to gauge whether the mask is placed correctly, but qualitative tests depend on the worker’s sense of taste and smell.
Quantitative fit tests use a device to measure how much air is leaking into the breathing zone. Both assessments are valid and should be conducted at least once a year or whenever the mask is changed.
● In-house testing
Before implementing an in-house respirator fit test program, employers must identify occupational hazards that can cause lung problems. These hazards can include paint and silica-containing materials, chemical vapors, mists, and biological hazards.
Before administering an in-house mask-placement assessment, employers must evaluate each employee’s physical condition.
In-house respirator fit testing is the most important part of respiratory protection in the workplace. These examinations will ensure that a face mask is properly sized for the wearer and provides the appropriate level of protection.
Failure to do a proper mask-placement assessment could expose employees to work-related breathing hazards. A qualified technician will perform the examination and ensure that it’s performed correctly on you and your employees.
● Issues with facial hair
These evaluations are typically conducted to determine the adequacy of the mask seal. Hair growth on the face should be no more than a few days old. If the facial hair is growing out of control, it may compromise the seal, allowing potentially contaminated air or hazardous substances to pass through.
Fortunately, checking air-purifying masks is easier than ever. Read on to learn how you can get the best placement every time.
It isn’t just the CDC worrying about facial hair. Nature.com has also written extensively on the studies conducted on the effectiveness of N95 masks worn on faces with a lot of facial hair.
Click here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41370-021-00337-1 for peer-reviewed studies on the matter. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the scientists!
A recent review of fourteen studies on the effect of facial hair on respirator seal and leakage found that hair increases the likelihood of respirator leakage by up to 20%. However, two of these studies failed to find an increased leakage rate.