Fit testing is required for employees wearing tight-fighting respirators, such as disposable or reusable respirators. This procedure helps ensure the user has selected the correct size respirator and that a seal against the face can be made in order to provide the expected protection.
3M Centre for Respiratory Protection
Tight-fitting respirators must seal to the wearer’s face in order to provide expected protection. This includes disposable respirators (also called “filtering facepieces”). Fit testing is required by Australian New Zealand Standard AS/NZS1715 before a user wears a respirator on the job, and should be assessed at least annually. In addition, fit tests should be performed:
AS/NZS1715 doesn’t require fit test administrators to be certified, just to know how to conduct a test, recognize invalid tests, and properly clean and maintain equipment.
There are two kinds of tests: qualitative and quantitative.
A qualitative fit test (QLFT) may only be used to fit-test:
QLFT is pass/fail and relies on the user’s senses using one of he AS/NZS 1715 accepted test agents:
Each QLFT method uses seven exercises performed for 1 minute each:
A quantitative fit test (QNFT) can be used to fit-test any tight-fitting respirator. It involves using an instrument to measure leakage around the face seal and produces a numerical result called a “fit factor.” There are three accepted QNFT test protocols:
A fit factor of at least 100 is required for half-mask respirators and a minimum fit factor of 500 or 1000 for a full facepiece negative-pressure respirator depending on the protection factor required in use.
View our online catalog of products to help you run a successful fit testing program.
Make the task of qualitative fit testing less tedious with the tap of a button. Test both reusable and disposable respirator wearers and perform up to five fit tests at one time.
Wear it Right app is compatible with iPad and requires iPadOS 14.0 or later.
Preloaded with OSHA & ISO qualitative fit test protocols and meets OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.134, Appendix A and ISO 16975-3.
Qualitatively tests both reusable and disposable respirator wearers with Bitrex® or Saccharin.
The app has two modes – one for fit testers who need less step-by-step guidance and one for those who prefer more detailed guidance.
Import wearer details & export fit test records, eliminating the need to track manually.
A good fit means the respirator will seal your skin. A respirator can only work when air passes through the filter. Air will take the path of least resistance, so if the seal isn't there, the air will go around rather than through the respirator - and therefore the lessen the protection.
Safety glasses, hearing protection, face shields, hard hats and coveralls can all vie with a respirator for real estate on a person's face, head or body.
To catch these problems before they happen on the job, AS/NZS 1715 and ISO 16975.3 requires any PPE that could interfere with the respirator's seal to be worn during the fit test.
A user seal check ensures the tight-fitting respirator is being worn right each time the user puts on the respirator. Employees are required to do so by AS/NZS 1715 and ISO 16975.3 regulations unless the use is voluntary
Users can either perform a positive-pressure or negative-pressure seal check as described in the product User Instructions.
Positive-pressure seal check means blocking the exhalation valve on a half or full facepiece respirator or covering the respirator surface on a filtering facepiece, usually by using your hands, and trying to breathe out. If slight pressure builds up, that means air sin't leaking around the edges of the respirator.
Negative-pressure check involves blocking the intake valves on a half or full facepiece respirator or covering the respirator surface on a filtering facepiece, typically using your hands and trying to breathe in. If no air enters, the seal is tight.
Fit testing is not only required by AS/NZS 1715; it’s vital to respiratory safety. This list provides some of the whys and hows of fit testing.
3M are proud to be an official support of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienist (AIOH) RESP-FIT respirator fit testing training and accreditation program.
RESP-FIT main objective is to improve respirator fit test competencies in Australia. They have developed a training course syllabus that training providers can develop their course against. They have also developed an accreditation process for fittesters to go through as a external assessment process as evidence of their competence. They also list fittest service providers who employ accredited fit testers.
Visit www.respfit.org.au for further information.
As pioneers in the field of respiratory protection, 3M not only invented the first AS/NZS 1716 compliant filtering facepiece disposable respirator, we helped develop qualitative fit testing protocol used today. We have a deep bench of experienced and passionate experts eager to spread knowledge about and increase understanding of this crucial part of respiratory protection.