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Five Tips for Your Next Respirator Fit Test

Quantitative fit testing (QNFT) is an economical method of testing the performance of respiratory protective equipment, such as respirators. Administered via a facemask, QNFT relies on real-time quantitative measurements of the respirator seal and negative pressure around the facepiece, thereby making it possible to test the proper functioning and protection capabilities of the equipment, also called Controlled negative pressure (CNP) REDON quantitative fit testing protocol.

Fit testing ensures that people will be protected from workplace hazards by wearing the right respirator. It also allows employers to determine which respirator suits each worker's needs. In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer, the employer shall establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures. The program shall be updated as necessary to reflect those changes in workplace conditions that affect respirator use.

The OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard, 29 CFR 1910.134, states that all worker applicants and employees required to wear a respirator must take a fit test to ensure the right respirator is being worn. Before a the fit test takes place, the applicant must first complete a medical questionnaire and have it evaluated by a Licensed Health Care Provider (LHCP). A sample questionnaire is provided in the link below.

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Once you have received your medical evaluation approval from your employers LHCP, you are ready for your fit test. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are preparing for your next fit test.

  1. Arrive early for your scheduled fit test with your selected respirator

  2. Facial hair can limit the effectiveness of a respirator's face-to-facepiece seal. Although it is possible to pass the fit test with some stubble, it is encouraged to be clean shaven around the area the respirator seal will contact the skin

  3. When you are not sure about sizes of respirators, bring a few sizes with you to your test

  4. Before you arrive for your appointment, clean your respirator according to the manufacturer recommendations

  5. Verify that your medical questionnaire has been evaluated by a Licensed Health Care Provider (LHCP) and bring your evaluation with you to your test. Your fit test professional will need to see your LHCP approval that you have passed your evaluation and you are ready for your fit test.


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