Face Fit Testing Important information


Before respirator face fit testing is undertaken it is important that you understand what is involved in the process and what needs to happen to ensure that you get the most out of our respirator fit testers time on your site. Read the face fit testing important information below to find out more.

RPE face fit testing is a legal requirement for all tight fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment i.e. a mask that forms a seal against the wearers face (see COSHH, CLAW, CAR, IRR, CSR etc.)

If your employees wear more than 1 type of tight-fitting mask i.e. reusable half mask & full-face mask, then they will need to be tested on each mask type worn. Loose fitting masks do not require a face fit test i.e. powered hoods, helmets etc. as they do not form a seal against the wearers face.

Not every mask will fit every face, we are all different and no two faces are the same, therefore there is a high probability that some tests will fail and this needs to be taken in to account at the time of booking.

If you book 20 face fit tests it does not mean that you will get 20 people all passed in the same session. We will always try our best to achieve as many passes as possible but sometimes the process can involve carrying out multiple tests on one individual to achieve this and of course this all takes time.

A face fit test takes about 20 minutes to complete so that means we can conduct approx. 3 tests per hour on average, so if we have to re-test then this is going to reduce the number of people that we can test significantly.

There is a lot that you can do to help you get the most out of your face fit testing:

  • Make sure that your staff attend promptly for their face fit test, if we have to wait for 20 minutes for somebody to turn up then that is the time needed for 1 face fit test.
  • Make sure that they are clean shaven, the HSE are perfectly clear on this if they are not clean shaven in the area where the mask seals against the face then we will refuse to test them. If we then have to wait for 20 minutes for someone to go and have a shave, then again that is more test time wasted.
  • Get everybody together before the testing so we can go through a toolbox talk with them and as part of this we will show them how to fit and check their mask prior to use. Legally anybody who wears a mask must be trained (see COSHH, CLAW, CAR, IRR, CSR etc.) so this will enable you to be compliant and will save failures from masks not been fitted correctly etc.
  • Make sure that your employees are medically fit enough to wear the mask and undertake the face fit test. We will ask before the test about any medical problems and if the test subject is in any doubt as to their medical capability to be tested then we will not test them until they have been passed as medically fit by a doctor.
  • Reusable masks need to be thoroughly cleaned and in good condition prior to testing, again having to wait for people to clean masks or replace parts prior to the test will cause delays.

We can never guarantee a single pass during face fit testing but we will always strive to get as many positive results as we can in the time available and by following the steps above in our face fit testing important information you will help maximise what can be achieved.