If you wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE), then it is essential that you have documentary evidence to show the RPE fits the wearer. By subjecting each wearer to a face-fit test you can be sure that your organisation is meeting and fulfilling the requirements laid out in the Health & Safety Executives (HSE) guidance note HSE 282/28.
The training is specific to each person and includes:
- How to check the mask is working properly before use
- How to identify worn or broken parts
- How to check the mask still fits
- Limitations of the mask to be used
A Fit Test can be carried out in the initial stages of selecting RPE, where an untested face piece is already in use or when the wearer has any significant facial changes (i.e. weight gain or loss, facial hair growth, etc). Fit testing does not need to be done annually but it is recommended that face piece wearers receive annual refresher training covering the selection, use & maintenance of their face mask.
Please note that in order for the face fit tests to work, the trainee MUST NOT eat, drink or smoke for at least 30 minutes before the test is performed. They must also be clean-shaven as stubble will prevent a good seal and the face fit test will fail. Failure to adopt this requirement will result in the person NOT being tested.
A record of fit test will be provided to each person who successfully passes the fit test. An electronic copy will also be sent to the booking contact in order for records to maintained.
It is imperative that all delegates are clean shaven and have not eaten, drunk or smoked anything in the preceding 30 minutes of to the test.
The delegate will then don the RPE, along with any additional PPE (personal Protective Equipment), while the tester places the hood over the head of the delegate. Either a bitrex (sour) or saccharin (sweet) solution will be sprayed into the hood to conduct a series of tests to ensure that the RPE is correctly fitted to the wearer's face.
If the face fit test fails, the mask will be rechecked and any necessary adjustments made, such as the positioning or tightness of the straps. If the RPE fails again, it may be necessary to select an alternative model or size of mask.
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