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Respirator Fit Testing
Verona Safety Supply has knowledgeable staff members that can perform respirator fit testing for individuals or an entire workforce. We are equipped to perform qualitative tests and certify that you and/or your employee's respirators fit properly, are safe, and comply with OSHA regulations. Please call us at 1-888-458-8624 to schedule a respirator fit test today!
The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and State OSHA Agencies require employers to fit test workers who must wear a tight fitting respirator on the job.
A respirator can't protect you if it doesn't fit your face. Tight-fitting respirators must form a tight seal with your face or neck to work properly. If your respirator doesn't fit your face properly, contaminated air can leak into the respirator face piece, and you could breathe in hazardous substances. So before wearing a tight-fitting respirator at work, you must ensure that it fits correctly.
A "fit test" tests the seal between the respirator's face piece and your face. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and should be performed at least annually. After passing a fit test with a respirator, you must use the exact same make, model, style, and size respirator for the job.
A fit test should not be confused with a user seal check. A user seal check is a quick check performed each time the respirator is put on and determines if the respirator is properly seated to the face or needs to be readjusted.
Verona Safety can perform a qualitative fit test for your employees to ensure you are safe and in compliance.
A qualitative fit test is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant in order to detect leakage into the respirator facepiece, Qualitative fit testing does not measure the actual amount of leakage like a quantitative fit test does. Whether a respirator passes or fails is based simply on the wearer's detecting leakage of the test substance into the facepiece. There are four qualitative fit test methods accepted by OSHA:
- Isoamyl acetate, which smells like bananas
- Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth
- Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth
- Irritant smoke, which can cause coughing
Qualitative fit testing is normally used for half mask respirators- those that cover the mouth and nose. Here at Verona Safety we usually utilize the Saccharin method during our tests.
Workers who need to wear prescription glasses or personal protective equipment (PPE), such as goggles or earmuffs, while performing a job are required to wear these items while performing a fit test, This ensure that the do not interfere with the respirator's fit.
Workers must be fit tested before using a respirator in the workplace, and must be retested every 12 months to make sure the respirator still fits. Also, any time a change in physical condition occurs that could affect the fit of a respirator. These include:
- large weight gain or loss
- major dental work (such as new dentures)
- facial surgery that may have changed the shape of your face
- significant scarring in the area of the seal
Anytime a respirator fails a fit test or a physical change occurs that could affect the fit of a respirator, the employer must allow workers to select different respirator and get retested.
Fit testing can be done by the employer or an outside party, including a union, an apprenticeship program, a contractor's association, or a past employer. Employer's are permitted to accept fit testing workers have received from an outside party within the last 12 months, as long as you use the same respirator make, model, style, and size at your new worksite.
Call Verona Safety Supply to schedule a fit test today!