This applies to anyone requiring protection from substances hazardous to health
The effectiveness of a mask can be compromised if it is not correctly fitted to the wearer, as such In the UK the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requires that all wearers of masks are tested.
This can be done on site; or at Prossor PPE premises.
The general requirement is once per person unless their face shape changes or they use a different mask. Some industries may require the test more frequently due to regulations eg .asbestos and lead working industries
Within the UK there is a requirement dictated from the HSE that all wearers of tight fitting respiratory masks must have a face fit test to confirm that the masks issued are correctly fitted. The guidance is aimed at the employers to ensure that they are aware of their responsibility for the control of substances hazardous to health regulations (known as COSHH) Control of lead at work regulations (known as CLAW) and the control of Asbestos at work regulations (known as CAW) The performance of a mask depends on the achieving of a good contact between the mask face seal and the wearers skin. It is unlikely that one type of mask will suit all wearers so masks are sized and have different characteristics. The face fit tester will determine the most suitable mask for face size and shape. The face fit test does not take the place of the risk assessment and determination of the correct filter medium for the hazard. This remains the responsibility of the employer who may have delegated the responsibility to a safety rep or health and safety professional. A tight fitting face piece may be a full face mask, half mask or a disposable filtering face piece. Face fitting should be carried out as part of the selection of suitable Respirator protective equipment (RPE), where an untested face piece is already in use. Or of the circumstances change with the wearer: for example they lose or gain weight, have a dental work carried out (lose teeth) or have a change in facial shape due to scars, moles or a broken nose. It is not suitable for people with beards stubble and facial hair. If the user has facial hair they would have to use a loose fitting unit.
The face fit test can be performed as either a qualitative or quantitative test. The Qualitative test is a simple pass of fail test based on the users subjective assessment of the face fit through taste with a sweet of bitter aerosol. The advantage is that it's quick to perform and can be done with the wearers existing mask without any modifications. It is most suitable for the half mask and the disposable filter mask. The Quantitative test provides a numerical measure of the fit called the fit factor. It requires specialized equipment that needs to be annually calibrated. It can take the form of a particle counting device or a controlled negative pressure device. Can be used for half masks and full face masks. We perform both types as part of our face fitting service. The qualitative has the dual effect of providing a confirmation to the wearer of how good the masks that they are using, are against the aerosol particles with a strong taste reinforcement when the test has been performed correctly. This is useful when combined with wearer training and user instruction. The quantitative test is based on exhausting air from the correctly fitted face-piece. The constant negative pressure is maintained during the test and the airflow out of the mask is equal to the air leaking into the mask. This is how a fit factor is determined. The wearer must hold their breath during the test (approximately 8 seconds) and mustn't move whilst the measurement is being made. The fit test record is available to the employer and it is suggested that it is made available to the employee. There is a charge for performing face fit testing. An example is below. Records should be stored for at least 5 years. We have a proprietary offering called Issue Control that will keep an electronic store of these records. What it does not do - Fit testing does not assess the quality of maintenance of the RPE.
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