Many people have heard of Face Fit Testing but are often unaware what it is and why its carried.
In short, a face fit test, or fit test, is carried out to ensure that the face mask you are wearing is protecting you against what it should be and is the correct fit for your face. Often face masks are designed to ‘fit all faces’ but this is very rarely true, everyone has a slightly different shape face, which means the fit of the mask varies from user to user. It is now a legal requirement that workers using tight fit face masks must be fit tested by a competent person, this requirement is detail in COSHH Regulations.
So how does the test work? Well to begin with, there is the qualitative fit test and a quantitative fit test.
The Quantitative Fit Test is designed to test all types of mask including disposable, half mask and full masks. The Quantitative test provides numerical data and through the use of a portacount which measures the ratio of particles inside and outside the face mask.
The Qualitative Fit Test relies on the wearer’s taste response to detect facial leakage using a sweet or bitter substance. With the qualitative test, each wearer undergoes a series of exercises designed to replicate ‘real life’ movements that the user will go through during their course of work. If the user is able to taste the bitter or sweet solution then the mask has not successfully prevented leakage. Full face masks cannot be tested using the qualitative method.
Lots of people ask us if the wearer needs to be clean shaved to undertake a fit test and the answer is yes. Clean shaven skin ensures a tight seal that would otherwise be compromised by facial hair. Another commonly asked question is do i need to be face fit tested on another mask if it is a different model to the first mask i was test on, the answer to this is also yes. If you wear two different models of mask but are only tested on one, you will not be covered with the second mask and this will require a separate test.
If you have any questions about face fit testing, or would like to book a face fit test, please get in touch with us and speak to one of our friendly team members on 01473 830255.