What is a Respiratory Fit Test? When do we need it?
If you work in areas where you could possibly breathe in particulates, vapors or fibers, you probably already know that wearing respirators is crucial to your health and safety. You don’t want to breathe in harmful materials, so you wear your mask. A respirator fit test checks whether a respirator properly fits the face of someone who wears it. The fitting characteristic of a respirator is the ability of the mask to separate a worker’s respiratory system from ambient air. There 2 forms of testing OSHA uses, Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant in order to detect leakage into the respirator facepiece.
It doesn’t measure the levels of leakage but instead provides you with an indication of whether your mask is in good working condition or if there are any holes or gaps in the seal. OSHA allows for four different qualitative fit test methods for respirator safety, Isoamyl Acetate: has a banana-like smell, Saccharin: leaves a sweet taste in your mouth, Bitrex: leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, Irritant Smoke: causes coughing. Quantitative Testing This method of fit testing uses a machine that is attached to any tight-fitting respirator and doesn’t rely upon your senses or reaction to irritants.
Three different quantitative fit test methods are approved by OSHA, Generated Aerosol– an aerosol is dispensed into a booth or test chamber and any leaks into respirator are measured, Ambient Aerosol– uses laser technology to measure aerosol concentrations inside and outside of a mask without having to use a test chamber, Controlled Negative Pressure– a fixed vacuum is created on the facepiece with special adapters that then measure airflow or leak rate.
What is the Purpose of Respiratory Fit Testing?
The purpose of respiratory fit testing is being performed to ensure the fact that whether a respirator is creating a proper seal with the face of the respirator users to provide them the required protection in the best possible way or these are needed to modify in some way for proper use in the best possible way. The user of the respirator must be fit tested to for every kind of respirator which is going to be specified by the labeling of a pesticide product that he or she will be using before putting his or her hands on a respirator to use. It is always important to conduct a respiratory fit test at least once in 12 months for better results.
When it comes to conducting a respirator fit test then it is highly important to get this process done by using an exact model, make, size and style of the respirator that the handler is using. If the user is going to get through any change then this can affect the required size of the respirator too and in any of such condition, it must be tested again for betterment. SNOHC performs a respiratory test for employees in Las Vegas.