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    Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 96.

    July 30, 2021



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    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 96:

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 96:

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 96:

    In this episode, host Mark Reggers and guest Jane Whitelaw, Certified Occupational Hygienist and RESP-FIT Board Member (more detailed bio below) discuss the RESP-FIT program, which has been developed in response to a need to improve the respirator fit-testing standards and practices in Australia. The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) developed the program and provides employers and PCBUs the means for improving the quality of fit-testing in the workplace.

    RESP-FIT provides a standardised training syllabus and accreditation to ensure a framework of competency can be made available to all Australian workers. The syllabus and training are based on the Australian and New Zealand standard 1715, and also based on ISO 16975-3. Mark and Jane cover the processes, standards and rigours developed through the creation of the RESP-FIT program and how you can get involved, either as an accredited fit-tester, a training provider, or by finding and engaging accredited fit-testers through the RESP-FIT website.


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    AIOH fellow Jane Whitelaw in picture

    Guest Bio:

    Jane Whitelaw is a Certified Occupational Hygienist, Certified Industrial Hygienist and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists. She is an expert in Respiratory Protection with current research grants & recent publications investigating the efficiency of respirators against airborne particles. Ms Whitelaw is member of the Australian Standards Committee SF10 publishing AS/NZS 1715 &1716 on Respiratory Protection (Design and Use); and RESP-FIT Board Member and accreditation assessor. As a PhD candidate in UOW’s School of Medicine, Jane is investigating the “Physiological Effects of Respirator use”. Further to this, she is the Coordinator of the National and Internationally Accredited UOW Occupational Hygiene Academic Program and OHS Academic program Director at the University of Wollongong.

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    In this episode, Mark & Jane discuss the following:

    • What is a respiratory fit test and why is it so critical when it comes to respiratory protection?
    • Is respirator fit testing legally required?
    • What is RESP-FIT and its objectives?
    • Is RESP-FIT based on any standards?
    • Why did the AIOH develop this program to begin with?
    • Are there other programs internationally like RESP-FIT?
    • Why is the competence of the fit tester so important?
    • How does the RESP-FIT program work?
    • If I am a workplace and I use tight fitting respirators how does RESP-FIT work for them?
    • Can you take us through the process if a company wants to deliver an approved RESP-FIT respirator fit testing course?
    • If someone wants to go through the accreditation process how does that work?
    • Why so rigorous to put fit testers through that process?
    • Is legally required for workplaces who do their own fit testing or engage someone to part of RESP-FIT?
    • What take away point would you want to leave with our listeners?
    • Where can the listeners go and get further information about RESP-FIT and respiratory protection we have discussed today?
    • How can our listeners get in contact with yourself?

    Fit-testing is a critical part of the process of using respirators in the workplace. We need to make sure the respiratory protection we provide actually fits the worker to provide maximum protection. The AIOH (Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists) has developed the RESP-FIT program because they are all about improving worker health and protecting worker health. If you see someone out there who is an accredited fit tester, you know that they've gone through a competency assessment and they have a professional level of knowledge


    Additional Resources:

    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information.