The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require employers to fit test workers who must wear a tight-fitting respirator on the job. A “Fit Test” tests the seal between the facepiece of the respirator and the face. According to OSHA, the test must be performed at least annually and only takes about fifteen minutes.
There are two types of “Fit Tests”: qualitative and quantitative.
A qualitative test is a pass/fail method where a series of substances are presented to determine if you can detect the leakage of the substance into the facepiece. The four qualitative fit methods are:
• Isoamyl acetate, which smells like bananas
• Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth
• Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth
• Irritant smoke, which can cause coughing
Quantitative fit testing measures the actual amount of leakage into the facepiece. There are three types of quantitative fit tests accepted by OSHA:
• Generated aerosol
• Ambient aerosol
• Controlled Negative Pressure
If you are going to use a respirator in the workplace, you must be fit tested prior to use and retested at least every 12 months. When undergoing testing, you must use the specific make, model, style and size of respirator that you will be using.
While recent fit testing in portable, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the fit testing and recordkeeping requirements of the OSHA’s respiratory protection standard have been met.
Emergency One can provide both qualitative and quantitative “Fit Testing” for your employees. Please give us a call at 845.338.5600 to schedule a test or to ask any questions pertaining to fit testing in your workplace.