WHAT is a fit test? A “fit test” tests the seal between the respirator's facepiece and your face. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and is performed at least annually. After passing a fit test with a respirator, you must use the exact same make, model, style, and size respirator on the job.
The qualitative fit testing method is the most widely used method for respirator half-mask fit testing. Prior to selecting a respirator, students 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 student then picks the most accommodating respirator size, and wears it at least five minutes to assess the comfort. Positive pressure and negative pressure seal checks are then performed. Before beginning the qualitative fit testing protocol, students are given a description of the fit test and their responsibilities during the procedure.
When qualitative fit testing negative pressure respirators, a variety of testing agents can be used and are acceptable to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The most common types are:
- Isoamyl acetate, which smells like bananas
- Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth
- Denatonium Benzoate (Bitrex), which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth
- Irritant smoke, which can cause coughing
Upon completion students will will be able to understand the importance of respirator fit testing and the theory of qualitative testing, be able to don and doff their respiratory half-mask, identify poorly fitting face pieces and corrective measures, unassemble, store & maintain respiratory equipment as per the manufacturer’s written instructions.
PLEASE NOTE: All students MUST be clean shaven. Mustaches must be trimmed within a ¼ inch of the corners of the mouth to ensure a proper seal.