Respirator Fit Testing

Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1715:2009 - Selection, Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protection, states that:

"Employers shall ensure a suitable fit test is carried out for all users of Respiratory Protective Equipment with a close fitting face piece at least annually or whenever there is a change in the wearer's facial characteristics".

Keys Human Resources offers both Qualitative and Quantitative fit testing at our Brisbane office or at your workplace. Our fully trained technicians offer professional service and accurate outcomes to ensure compliance.

Utilising the TSI PortaCount PRO+ Keys Human Resources are able to Quantitatively fit test the following mask/ respirator types across all manufacturers to the OSHA 1910.134 protocol:

- Disposable half face mask
- Half face respirators
- Full face respirators

When to Fit Test
Fit testing should be conducted:

- before the respirator is used for the first time
- if the wearer experiences significant weight gain or loss
- if a different size of respirator or respirator manufacturer is to be used
- if the wearer has a significant facial injury or significant dental work
- testing should be repeated anually or sooner depending on company requirements


Quantitative and Qualitative fit testing explained
Quantitative Fit Testing (objective) Gold Standard
A quantitative fit test measures the adequacy of a respirator's fit by numerically measuring the amount of leakage into the respirator. This method of fit testing eliminates any guess work as it does not incorporate a person's sense of smell, taste or sensitivity to irritant chemicals.
The PortaCount works by measuring the concentration of microscopic dust particles in the ambient air and then measuring the concentration of those dust particles that leak into the respirator. The ratio of these two concentrations is called the fit factor. The filters stop essentially all the particles so anything that gets into the mask must have come through the face seal. A quantitative fit test is not affected by the person's sense of smell, taste or sensitivity to irritant chemicals. This fit test procedure takes about 10 minutes.

Qualitative Fit Testing (subjective - not advocated by Keys HR Testing Services)
A qualitative fit test is a test that relies on the participants response to a test agent such as Bitrex.
In a Bitrex test, a technician administers a participant not wearing a respirator with a test aerosol to gauge taste sensitivity. The subject dons the respirator to be tested and a fit test hood. The test aerosol (Bitrex) is sprayed inside the hood while the subject performs prescribed exercises. If the subject can taste the test Bitrex, the respirator fails the test and another respirator must be tested until no Bitrex is detected. The fit test procedure requires about 15 to 20 minutes.



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