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Face Fit Testing – Why is it Important During and Post Coronavirus

Face Fit Testing in CoronavirusDue to the highly transmittable nature of COVID-19 accurate Face Fit Testing has become more and more important, not only for industries that already make use of RPE (Respiratory Protection Equipment) on a regular basis, but for new sectors that are using it for the first time.

RPE already has an important day-to-day role in protecting employees from hazardous fumes and substances. The threat of coronavirus in the UK and around the globe has resulted in a surge in RPE requirements for many industries and sectors that would not have previously considered it’s use, or, more importantly know how to ensure that it is fitted correctly.

Our latest blog highlights the importance of Face Fit Testing during the coronavirus outbreak, how to use disposable respirators and the continued importance of Face Fit Testing post lockdown.

Face Fit Testing During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Respirators including disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks require a good seal with the wearer’s face to protect the individual.

In normal circumstances, companies like ours can provide on-site Face Fit Testing services to ensure that RPE is fitted and working correctly. But current social distancing measures means that this cannot currently take place.

There are steps however that can be taken to ensure the correct fitting of RPE yourself using a mirror or with a colleague following social distancing measures. The HSE have produced this useful poster demonstrating how to fit and check the seal on your disposable RPE.

How to minimise the risk of transmission during Face Fit Testing

There are a number of other factors to also carefully consider when completing a self-conducted face fit test.

  • Follow social distancing measures – observations and instructions can be delivered verbally at a safe distance.
  • Keep your mask on at all times if closer observation is required.
  • Wash your hands – both fit tester and those being fitted should wash their hands before and after the test in accordance with NHS guidelines.
  • Clean non-disposable masks – if you are being fitted for a non-disposable mask clean the mask before and after the test with a suitable cleaning solution. Be sure to check with the manufacturer to avoid damage to the mask.
  • Single person use – facepieces that cannot be adequately disinfected should not be used by more than one individual.
  • Use disposable gloves – fit testers should wear gloves when cleaning and ensure they remove gloves following the correct procedure.
  • Disposal of items – any gloves, disposable masks and cleaning wipes should be immediately and securely disposed of following use.

In addition to the above fit testers should ensure they familiarise themselves with all of the potential contact points and actions to minimise the risk of transmission. This can be found on the HSE website.

For many businesses the importance of correctly fitted RPE will continue well beyond the current pandemic.  For longer term use, and once social distancing measures are lifted, it is recommended that correctly conducted Face Fit Testing by a competent person. This includes anyone with a BSIF Fit2Fit accreditation or manufacturers of fit test equipment.

How can the team at Sureteam Help?

We appreciate the increased pressure our key workers are under during these unprecedented times and will continue to help educate and share useful resources and guidance to support our clients and other businesses during these unprecedented times.

If you have any concerns regarding the use of RPE or face fit testing in particular, please contact the team on 01666 503686 for some advice.