Face Fit Testing

Why do I need a Face Fit Test?

The correct fit of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is critical.

When RPE is used, it must provide adequate protection for individual wearers. But with wearers, it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all.

If the RPE does not protect the wearer effectively because it isn’t fitted correctly, then they could be exposed to potentially hazardous substances. With the biggest cause of leaks down to poor fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment.

Face fit testing ensures that the equipment being used is fitted correctly and that it is suitable for the user and the task being undertaken.

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    How is the test completed?

    RPE Face Fit Testing is completed by an appropriately trained, qualified, and experienced individual.

    The same respiratory protective equipment will be used for the test that will be worn whilst carrying out the working task.

    Respirators rely on a good seal against the face so that when a person breathes in, this air is drawn in through the filter, where the air is cleaned. If there are any gaps around the edges of the respirator, ‘dirty’ or unfiltered air will pass through, and into the person’s lungs.

    When putting on a respirator, it’s important to put it on correctly, and ensure there is a good fit. By doing this you are ensuring that you are breathing in clean air, meaning you are more likely to maintain healthy lungs.

    However, facial hair, stubble, and beards make it impossible to get a good seal on the respirator to the face. So, the wearer must be clean-shaven for the purposes of the test. In addition, they must continue to be clean-shaven when a respirator is required.

    Employer Duties

    • A face fit test is a legal duty of the employer
    • The employer needs to assess the need to wear a respirator through a risk assessment
    • The type of RPE is matched to the hazard
    • Fit Testers – must ensure the fit testing procedure is adhered to and carried out by a competent person
    • Protection relies on achieving a good seal between the facepiece and the employee’s face

    Employee Duties

    • Protection relies on achieving a good seal between the facepiece and the employee’s face
    • Employees good practice, the wearer is responsible for carrying out a fit check every time the respirator is put on
    • Before attending the face fit test wearers are required to:
      – Be fit enough to wear RPE and undertake mild exercise.
      – Bring along and wear any other head-worn PPE that may affect the fit of the respirator.
      – Be clean-shaven
      – Have refrained from eating/chewing, smoking, or drinking anything other than water for a least one hour prior to the test

    Contact us

    To talk to a member of the Acorn Occupational Health team about our Face Fit Testing service, please call us on 01260 277797 or email us at website@acornoh.co.uk