16 Feb Why Is Face Fit Testing Important
Do you know why face fit testing is important? Or do you think it’s just a money making idea? A paperwork exercise? Only protects the employer? Only protects the worker? It’s just a new thing? Or do you only wear a mask for a short period so don’t need a test?
These are just some of the recent comments we have received. If you think any of the above, I hope to explain why face fit testing is important.
Most people see health and safety, especially training, as a boring, pointless, exercise. Our commitment is to keep you safe. You and your employer should be committed to do the same.
Victim of Respiratory Disease
Before Christmas, I read a post on LinkedIn. It struck a real chord with me. It was a guy, who, like many, did not think that a correct fitting mask was important or necessary. Sadly he was proof of why you should wear a mask properly. He was posting from his hospital bed, being treated for a respiratory disease as a direct result from years of working in a dusty environment without protection. The prospects for him were devastating. If he had his time again he would do it differently which is why he took to LinkedIn, in the vain hope that what has happened to him, would make others think and do something about it.
I’ve Never Had To Wear A Mask Before
We received recent comments “I’ve never had to wear a mask before”, “why should I be clean shaven, it won’t make any difference”, “as long as I have the right mask for the job it doesn’t matter” the thing is, the guy on LinkedIn would tell you differently. It is never too late, the damage can be stopped and the person who will pay the price is you. What value do you put on your life? What value do you put on being safe?
Face fit testing is there to protect the worker and the employer. Recent social media trolls told us that we are trying to make a business that is not necessary. Why is face fit testing important? Well the 18,000* estimated annual new cases of self-reported breathing or lung problems caused or made worse by work would probably have wished they used protection and had a test to make sure that the mask was working and protecting them.
* Source: Occupational Lung Disease statistics in Great Britain, 2019 (annual statistics up to March 2019) https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/respiratory-diseases.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0oW7Ukn-FpL_v6xNo4a9gQPAPKHBmw76Rl2mwak56TIr9nznN04ynfzww
Face Fit Testing Is Pointless
Another poster told us that face fit testing is pointless…. is your life pointless? Is protecting against illness pointless? It is the law to have your mask tested to make sure it fits you correctly. If the mask fits correctly it is going to protect you against some very nasty illness, or worse still death. Is that really pointless?
Our daily struggle is with the end user, they don’t believe that a mask is necessary, or if they do believe a mask is necessary, they don’t believe it needs testing or that you have to be clean shaven. I am sure the guy on LinkedIn thinks it is important and so should you. If you do not put your own health and safety as a priority who else will?
A recent example of customer frustration came from a LiveChat conversation. The customer contacted us for advice. He had been asked to wear tight fitting FFP3. His guys had beards and only wear the masks for approximately 15 minutes. In this instance if they had beards, our advice would be to wear something like a powered air fed hood. The customer was unhappy with this advice. I was told “That’s too impractical, more chance of it causing a hazard. Building sites are full of guys with beards and stubble”. I explained that sadly we don’t make the law, we just help people abide by it. The HSE conduct regular site inspections. Anyone who is not adhering to this law will be penalised.
Face Fit Testing Facts Not Statistics
The philosophy that face fit testing is not important is a daily occurrence for us. As a fit2fit accredited face fit testing company, we visit numerous sites to conduct hundreds of face fit tests every year. If you or your boss decide you do not want a test, that is your choice. The statistics speak for themselves and if you choose not to abide by the law, it is hoped that one day you do not become one of the statistics. With 12,000** lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work.
** Source: Occupational Lung Disease statistics in Great Britain, 2019 (annual statistics up to March 2019) https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/respiratory-diseases.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0oW7Ukn-FpL_v6xNo4a9gQPAPKHBmw76Rl2mwak56TIr9nznN04ynfzww
If you have got this far in this article, first of all congratulations! Secondly, I hope you found it helpful. If you have any questions relating to face fit testing please contact us, we will happily help. In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy.