Have Your Respirators Been Correctly Tested?

16 June 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Does your company engage in any activities that require your workers to wear respirators? Ensuring that your staff and visitors can breathe easily and are protected from any harmful contaminants in the air is vital. The best way to protect them is by investing in proper respirators, but how can you know that the respirators used by your company are effective? The only way that you can be sure that the respirator is working is by arranging for respirator fit testing.

Which respirators require testing?

In most cases, you will find that loose-fitting respirators do not require respirator fit testing. It is only tight-fitting air-purifying and supplied-air respirators that need to be checked. You must investigate whether the respirators your company uses fall under the test requirements and what type of testing is needed. You could find that you are required to arrange both quantitative and qualitative testing at several points during the life of each respirator. Normally, you can expect to engage in respirator fit testing when the respirators are first purchased, whenever the operators' facial features change, if that could affect the effectiveness of the respirator, and once a year to ensure that the respirator has not deteriorated over time.

What is involved in respirator fit testing?

For your respirator fit testing, it is best to use an outside team with appropriate experience. The testing company will know how to carry out all of the tests and confirm whether your equipment is operating safely according to the relevant standards. They may perform the following tests:

Sweet or bitter test 

The most effective way to see whether the respirator is functioning correctly and can be relied upon is to test it to the limit. Instead of harmful contaminants, the testing company may use a test solution that is either sweet or bitter and see whether it can be detected through the protective equipment.

The fit test 

To determine whether the respirator is fitting correcting, the testing company may want to conduct positive and negative pressure fit checks. These tests ensure that a face seal exists and that it will protect the wearer from harm. The positive test will involve covering the exhaust valve and seeing whether air escapes from the side of the respirator while the wearer breathes out. The negative test involves the wearer attempting to breathe in while the inlet valve is covered. By conducting these two tests, it is possible to ascertain whether a good face seal is in place.

Contact a company like FitTick to learn more.