The qualitative fit testing method is the most widely used method for respirator fit testing
When qualitative fit testing negative pressure respirators, a variety of testing agents can be used The most common types are isoamyl acetate (commonly referred to as banana oil because of its fruit-like aroma), saccharin (a sweet-tasting agent), irritant smoke (stannic chloride) and Denatonium Benzoate (also known as Bitrex). Bitrex leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth of fit test subjects whose masks do not fit properly.
Prior to selecting a respirator, employees are shown how to put on a respirator, how to position it on the face, how to adjust the strap tension, and how to determine an acceptable fit. The employee then picks the most acceptable respirator from a sufficient number of samples and wears it at least five minutes to assess the comfort (chin properly placed, adequate strap tension, fits across the nose bridge, spans the distance from the nose to chin and does not have a tendency to slip). Positive pressure and negative pressure seal checks are then performed.
Positive pressure seal check:
Negative pressure seal check:
Before beginning the qualitative fit testing protocol, employees are given a description of the fit test and their responsibilities during the procedure. Excercises that the test subject performs include:
Each test excercise is performed for one minute.Qualitative fit testing
- Test subjects may not eat, drink (except plain water), smoke, or chew gum for 15 minutes before the test.
- The fit test uses the same enclosure as used for the taste threshold screening.
- Test subjects don the enclosure while wearing the selected respirator.
- The respirator must be properly adjusted and equipped with a particulate filter(s).
Even though qualitative fit testing can be used to fit test both half-mask and full-face respirators, it is important to note that you are only verifying a 10X assigned protection factor (APF) on both half-mask and full-face respirators.
What is a respirator fit test and why is it performed?
A respirator fit test is a protocol conducted to test and verify that a respirator is correctly fitting the user as well as being comfortable to wear . Fit testing is a procedure that uses a test agent to verify that it fits the user. This can be performed qualitatively through detecting the wearer’s sense of taste, smell, or involuntary cough (irritant smoke). The other option is to quantitatively measure the fit by an instrument, to verify the respirator’s fit.
How do I perform a respirator fit test?
1. Once you have chosen a size and type of respirator, have the test subject put on the respirator and perform both positive and negative fit checks. 2. It is important that the subject wear the respirator for at least five minutes before the fit test. 3. Place the collar and hood over the head of the test subject and have them put out their tongue. 4. Insert a nebulizer with a sensitivity or fit test solution and administer sprays in a timed fashion to see if the wearer can cough or taste the material. 5. Have the subject perform a series of exercises that would mimic their head position during a work day. 6. If they dont taste the material, the mask may be a good fit.
How long is a respirator fit test good for?
Some companies require a Medical evaluation: once, and then only when required by changing conditions or medical reasons. The subject may gain 10 pounds for example and need to be fitted again. Keep the record until the next medical evaluation or for 2 years. Respirator fit test should be done annually. Keep the record for 2 years.
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COVID 19 Policy
Please do not attend the class if you have COVID 19 symptoms. Wearing masks is optional and at your own discretion.
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