At The Institute for Continuing Education, we will institute Fit Testing Annually for those employees who will be required to use an N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirator (FFR) . When you register for this fit test program, you will be emailed a Medical Evaluation Questionnaire that you must fill out, send to your primary Healthcare provider for approval, and then send it back to us to have the fit test performed. A respirator can’t protect you if it doesn’t fit your face. It’s that simple. Certain respirators, known as tight-fitting respirators, must form a tight seal with your face to work properly. If your respirator doesn’t fit your face properly, contaminated air can leak into your respirator face piece, and you could breathe in hazardous substances. So before you wear a tight-fitting respirator at work, your employer must be sure that your respirator fits you. Your employer does this by having a fit test performed on you while you wear the same make, model, and size of respirator that you will be using on the job. That way, you know that your respirator fits you properly and can protect you, as long as you use it correctly.
For our Fit Test Protocols, we will be using Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
In addition, before you use a respirator or are fit-tested, your employer must ensure that you are medically able to wear it.
So what is a fit test? A “fit test” tests the seal between the respirator’s face piece and your face. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and is performed at least annually. After passing a fit test with a respirator, you must use the exact same make, model, style, and size respirator on the job.
A fit test should not be confused with a user seal check. A user seal check is a quick check performed by the wearer each time the respirator is put on. It determines if the respirator is properly seated to the face or needs to be readjusted.
There are two types of fit tests: qualitative and quantitative.
Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant in order to detect leakage into the respirator face piece. Qualitative fit testing does not measure the actual amount of leakage. Whether the respirator passes or fails the test is based simply on you detecting leakage of the test substance into your face piece. There are four qualitative fit test methods accepted by OSHA:
- Isoamyl acetate, which smells like bananas;
- Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth;
- Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth; This is the protocol ICE will be using
- Irritant smoke, which can cause coughing.
Qualitative fit testing is normally used for half-mask respirators – those that just cover your mouth and nose. Half-mask respirators can be filtering face piece respirators – often called “N95s” – as well as elastomeric respirators.
Please follow the link to Appointment core to schedule your fit test, and remember to download the Mandatory Medical Evaluation Questionnaire
You will get both the Medical Evaluation Questionnaire and Appointment Link once you purchase the Fit Test.