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Face Fit Testing

Face Fit Testing

For many businesses the use of RPE plays a major part in ensuring the safety of their employees.  Ensuring that the equipment fits correctly is a key part of the process and to do this it is important that suitable face fit testing is undertaken by a competent person, this includes accredited Fit2Fit Face Fit Testers or a manufacturer or fit test equipment.

Why is it Important to Wear a Mask?

Under the COSHH regulation (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) employers in industries where staff are exposed to substances such as chemicals, dust, fumes and gases are required to identify and assess the risk of these substances and how they can be controlled or protected against.

What are the Causes of Face Masks Leaking?

The most common reason for leaks is due to poor fitting masks. This can be for many reasons such as:

  • facial hair (beards and stubble) means that the mask will not seal properly. If you have a beard for religious reasons, there are other alternatives of RPE that do not require tight-fitting face pieces.
  • the wearer has gained or lost significant weight.
  • the wearer has developed facial changes (i.e. scars, broken bones).
  • the wearer has undergone significant dental treatment.
  • the make, model or size of the RPE has been changed.

What’s Involved in Face-fit Testing and When Should you Complete them

Many organisations fall-short by not completing tests under all circumstances. We recommend a Face Fit Test is conducted under any of the following situations:

  • New employee – any one joins the company or moves to a department that requires RPE.
  • Model or supplier change – if your RPE has changed model or supplier then a new test should be carried out.
  • Any individual change occurs – if any of the above causes of leaks occur to any employee a new test should be complete

The test involves the wearer having their mask on and then a special hood is put over the person’s head to form a chamber-like space. Then a solution that can be tasted is put into the hood using a nebuliser.

If the test subject tastes the solution at any point, it indicates that the mask has a leak and has therefore failed the test. Adjustments can then be carried out and the test re-done.

When a tight-fitting mask is used in the workplace the wearer will be busy moving around. The Face Fit Test tries to emulate this to check and ensure that the mask does not leak when the wearer moves.

The test therefore assesses the impact of the subject

  • turning their head from side to side
  • moving their head up and down
  • and talking

Use Sureteam for Your Face-fit Testing

Sureteam are here to support your face fit testing needs.  If you are new to using RPE in the workplace and require further guidance and advice call our team on 01666 503686.