Face Fit Testing

Importance Of Respiratory Protective Equipment In The Workplace

Face Fit Testing is recognised by the Health & Surveillance Executive (HSE) as the only means of ensuring that employees have adequate protection through the use of properly-fitted respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Having equipment fitted is essential as your employees could be exposed to harmful chemicals, fumes and dust if leaks are present in masks, and other safety equipment. Simply having the equipment isn’t enough – it needs to be fit for purpose to ensure complete protection for your workforce.

The DB Occupational Health team offer advice, assessment of work environments, and compliant Face Fit Testing services for businesses and companies across the UK. There isn’t a one size fits all approach for RPE facepieces; it’s not just crucial that equipment is suitable for the wearer, it’s a legal requirement as the final line of defence against harmful substances in the workplace.

Our qualified team have been trained in Face Fit Testing by the HSE laboratories in Buxton. That means that we know what is required when it comes to workplace safety in hazardous environments, and we know how to keep both your staff and business protected.

What Types Of Masks Need To Be Tested?

Powered respirators
Full face masks
Escape set masks
Full breathing apparatus masks
Filtering facepieces (disposable masks)
Half masks

How Often Should A Test Be Taken Out?

Naturally, the most effective time to carry out face fit testing is during the initial selection stage, so that you can ensure the user is given an adequate choice of RPE masks and models, though it is important to ensure that you carry out regular testing on all safety equipment to safeguard your employees in the workplace.

It’s Important To Re-Test If Any Of Your Employees:

Has any significant weight changes
Undergoes significant dental work
Develops facial changes that affect the fitting of the mask

New chemicals are introduced into the workplace
Workplace environments change
Workplace practices or equipment change

Facial Hair

Facial hair poses an issue in Face Fit Testing – in order for masks to create an effective seal to the face, the user must be clean shaven. Any stubble or facial hair compromises the seal – and puts the wearer at risk of breathing in harmful chemicals. Therefore, it is important to ensure Face Fit Testing is only carried out on those who are clean shaven; they should remain clean shaven at any time they wear the mask going forward.

Case Study: Faulty RPE Discovery

Isocyanates are one of the leading causes of occupational asthma in the UK; it is a legal requirement to protect all employees from this substance in the workplace.

We recently worked with an organisation, carrying out tests on their respiratory protective equipment (RPE), which had been in use by employees working on car bodywork. For any activity such as this, it is vital they have protection from the isocyanates, which can enter an unprotected respiratory system during spray painting – a typical process performed in this line of work.

Following isocyanate testing in car painters, some people displayed raised levels of the substance over standard variations. This was identified as being caused by people wearing inappropriate face masks, so we were asked to go and Face Fit Test the employees to ensure the masks were appropriate. Once completed, the employees were retested for isocyanate with much better results than before.

Make sure your staff are safe from inhaling harmful chemicals, fumes and dusts.

Get in touch and see how DB Occupational Health can help your business safeguard from harmful environments today.

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