01: Do I need to undertake a face Fit Test?
It is crucial to the user that they are wearing a suitably sized and correctly adorned mask so that there is no reduced protection. An ill-fitting mask or a mask that has been put on incorrectly may leave small gaps
between the face & respirator mask. It is also the legal responsibility of the company tom ensure that all operatives are face fit tested.
02: Why undertake a face fit Test?
The performance of respiratory face pieces depends on good contact between the wearers skin & the face seal of the respiratory mask. An inadequate fit & if the mask has been put on incorrectly protection levels will be
reduced. A correct fitting respirator is vital to prevent exposure. A face fit test kit will identify if this is the case.
03: What masks are required to be face fitted?
There is a legal requirement that all employees should be face fitted if wearing any tight face fitting masks such as FFP dust masks (EN 149) (including FFP1, FFP2 & FFP3 Dust Masks), reusable half masks (EN140) & Full
Face Masks (EN136).
04: What masks do not require face fitting?
Powered air respirators s (EN12941) and compressed air units (EN139 & (EN270) do not require face fitting or the normal face fit tests to be carried out.
05: How is Facepiece Fit Testing Carried out?
There are two basic methods of Respiratory fit testing: Qualitative fit testing & Quantitative fit testing.
Qualitative face fit testing is a simple 20 minutes subjective assessment of leakage whereas
Quantitative face fit testing require specialist equipment & provide an objective assessment of fit.
06: Can all masks be tested be tested using a Qualitative Face Fit Test Kit?
Qualitative fit tests are relatively simple to perform and are suitable for respirator half masks & Disposable FFP masks only. They are not suitable for Full Face Masks. Full face masks can only be face fitted using a
Quantitative Face Fit test.
07: What is a Qualitative Face Fit Test Kit?
Approved by the HSE, this type of face fit test is a subjective assessment. A face fit test hood is placed over the head of the wearer whilst wearing the face mask. A strong smelling or strong tasting substance (Either
Bitrex test solution giving a bitter taste or Saccharin sweet testing solutions giving a sweet taste) is added by nebuliser inside the face fit test hood.
If the wearer cannot smell or taste any additives, they are seen to have an adequate facial seal. The test can be compromised if the wearer has an impaired sense of taste or smell from smoking (Must not spoke for 24hrs)
or illness. This test can be carried out by a competent person trained to HSE standard.
Suitable masks to be tested: FFP Dust masks & Reusable Half Mask Respirators.
08: What is a Quantitative Face Fit Test Kit?
This face fit test requires specialised equipment however can test all types of masks such as disposable masks, reusable half masks & Full Face masks. This is a far more accurate test giving a definitive assessment of
facial fit & a direct numerical result called fit factor. The test measures the level of particles both within the mask & a particle count outside the mask creating a ratio.
The fit factor is a measure of how well the facepiece seals against the wearers face. The higher the fit factor the better the fit between face seal & face.
09: What could affect a face fit test?
The purpose of the test is to ensure that the seal between mask & face is providing an adequate fit. Facial hair, scars, outstanding facial features & jewellery can all detract from the performance of the respirator. All
testing must be undertaken on a cleanly shaven face.
If the wearer has an impaired sense of taste or smell, a smoker (Must not spoke for 24hrs) or illness the test can be compromised.