With the recent global outbreak of Covid-19, the use of face masks as a form of PPE has increased significantly. But how can we be sure that the face mask you are wearing is protecting you against what it should be? Should we assume all face masks are the perfect fit for every face? Sadly not.
That’s where a Face Fit Test comes in! Essentially, a face fit test is taken to ensure the mask you are wearing is the correct fit for your face, that there are no leaks around the seal and that the mask is protecting you against what it should be protecting you from. Here’s where it gets a little complicated, there are 2 types of face fit test, a qualitative fit test and a quantitative fit test, easy for you to say!
Lets start with the qualitative fit test. This type of test relies on the wearer of the masks taste to determine whether they can taste the chemical being sprayed into a hood whilst they are wearing their masks. The wearer goes through a series of exercises with their mask and hood on designed to mimic real-life movements in the workplace. If the wearer is able to taste the chemical with their mask on then that mask is not suitable for their face in its current form. Which masks can you use for the qualitative fit test? Any disposable or half face mask, not full face masks.
So how is the quantitative fit test different? Rather than relying on the wearer of the masks taste like in the qualitative test, the quantitative test uses a machine called a portacount to determine the ratio of particles inside and outside of the face masks. The quantitative test can be used for all types of mask including the full face mask and connected breathing apparatus masks.
Overall, face fit testing is an essential if you are wearing face masks, without a fit test you are potentially leaving yourself exposed to harmful gases, vapours or even virus’s.