What Employers Need to Know about Respirator Fit Testing 2

What Employers Need to Know about Respirator Fit Testing

Why is Respirator Fit Testing Important?

Respirator fit testing is a process used to ensure that a respirator properly fits an employee. The main objective of the test is to reduce exposure to harmful airborne contaminants in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fit testing for any work environment where respirators are used. It is a vital part of any workplace respiratory protection program. To further enhance your learning experience, we recommend you explore the recommended external site. You’ll discover supplementary and essential details about the subject. Click to read this article, broaden your understanding!

What Employers Need to Know about Respirator Fit Testing 3

Overview of Fit Testing Methods

The fit testing process requires either qualitative or quantitative fit testing methods. Qualitative testing measures the respirator’s impact on the senses, such as taste or smell, to determine if it properly fits the employee. Quantitative testing measures the fit and seal of the respirator on an employee and provides a numerical value indicating the respirator’s effectiveness. According to OSHA, when performing fit testing, employers must choose the appropriate method based on the type of respirator used, the job duties performed, and the working conditions in which the respirator is used.

When is Respirator Fit Testing Required?

OSHA mandates that employers perform fit testing when they require their employees to use respirators. Moreover, fit testing is necessary whenever the employee must wear a new respirator, a different size, or any additional protective equipment that might affect how the respirator fits the employee. Additionally, following any changes to a worker’s physical attributes or facial features, employees must undergo a new fit test. Nevertheless, after passing a fit test, an employee must perform a user seal check (i.e., a positive and negative pressure seal check) each time they wear a respiratory.

Who Conducts Fit Testing?

Unlike competency requirements for audiometric testing, OSHA doesn’t require any specific qualifications for a person to carry out fit testing. However, OSHA does say that the test administrator must have a comprehensive knowledge of the fit testing equipment and procedures and must be competent to conduct tests for any type of respirator used by employees.

Respirator Exam and Service Life Determination

Before fit testing, employers must perform a medical evaluation to determine if the employee is fit to wear a respirator. A physician must carry out a medical examination for all individuals who will use respirators and must evaluate the individual’s fitness for the respirator’s performance. A service life determination must be made regarding the particular respirator model used in the workplace.

Conclusion

Respirator fit testing is one of the most critical elements of any workplace respiratory protection program. Employers must ensure that all respirators are appropriately sized, and the appropriate testing procedures are used to protect employees. Failure to comply with the respiratory protection program’s standards places employees in danger of suffering injuries, illness, or even death. Therefore, respiratory protection programs should be taken seriously by employers to guarantee employee’s safety from respiratory hazards. Interested in learning more about the subject? Research details, where you’ll find additional details and complementary information to further enhance your learning experience.

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