Face Fit Testing
As part of HSE regulations and the corresponding Approved Codes of Practice, part of the process for choosing the correct model of RPE (respiratory protective equipment) is to undergo a "fit test" either “qualitative” for disposable masks or “quantitative” for half face & full face masks.
This test will ensure that the wearer is using a mask that can provide adequate protection as the performance of a mask will depend, in the first instance, on a good contact between the wearer's skin and the face seal of the mask.
Using state of the art computerised equipment Thermac (Hire) Ltd. provide quantitative testing service on full face and half mask respirators following HSE guidelines. At the start of the test, our experienced engineers will check that the mask is being worn properly and offer advice where needed. In the event of a test being carried out on the wearer's own mask, a visual inspection will be made as any defects or faults will effect the test. However, Thermac (Hire) Ltd. recommend that a full service is carried out on the equipment prior to the test as problems with the mask may not be possible to sort out at the time. A full range of full-face and half-face masks are available for testing purposes and can be purchased on the day. The Mask Fit Testing service is available either at our fully equipped workshops or at any other specified location.
The HSE regulations and ACOPS further require that RPE is regularly inspected and maintained by a competent person. Thermac (Hire) Ltd's service engineers have a wealth of experience and training which they can pass on to anyone required to carry out this inspection and general maintenance. The training is in the form of a practical session indicating the main areas to look out for in general wear and tear on respirators to ensure that they keep to the required level of day to day performance. Thermac (Hire) Ltd. then issues a certificate, valid for two years, which is a record of attendance at the session. ACOPS recommend that respirators should also be serviced at 6 monthly intervals.
Respirators test and service
· Complete strip down and manual clean prior to testing
· Perishable parts replaced at each service
· Inward leakage test on mask
· Motor and battery electrically tested
· Estimate for repair or replacement parts
· Service and test certificate issued
Are you sure that the RPE you provide to your employees fits them properly? Are you sure the face fit test was carried out competently? You ought to be, because the health of your employees could be at serious risk.
Recent research indicates that up to 50% of all RPE used does not offer the wearer the level of protection assumed and one of the major reasons is that it simply does not fit! Yet, under the regulations RPE must be correctly selected and this includes, for many types of RPE, a face piece Fit Test conducted by a competent person. So how can you be sure the person conducting the fit test is competent?
In view of these major concerns the British Safety Industry Federation, along with the HSE and other industry stakeholders have developed a competency scheme for Fit Test Providers. The Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme is designed to confirm the competency of any person performing face piece fit testing.
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