The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) fit-testing requirements specify that all respirators that rely on a mask-to-face seal need to be checked with either quantitative or qualitative methods to determine whether the mask provides an acceptable fit to a wearer. This includes all types of air purifying, air-supplied, positive pressure, powered air-purifying respirators, and SCBA.
Any person who is required to wear a tight fitting face piece during the course of their normal day to day duties, or any person who is required to wear a tight fitting face piece for emergency response activities should be fit tested to ensure an effective seal.
CSA also requires employers to conduct fit testing with their employees. KG Safety Services can prepare you for this very task as our staff fit testers are specifically trained and ready to visit your site to provide fit testing for your employees.
Qualitative Mask-Fit Testing
Qualitative Mask-Fit Testing is a pass/fail method of testing by determining whether participants can detect an odour while wearing a mask. A bitter or sweet odour is injected into a test booth or a hood and if the participant cannot detect the odour, the test is considered a pass. This type of testing is performed on disposable and half-face masks.
Quantitative Mask-Fit Testing
Quantitative mask-fit testing is the gold standard and produces a numerical measurement of the “fit factor” of a respirator.
The measurement is made while the person performs dynamic movements and breathing exercises resembling those experienced in the workplace in order to stress the respirator seal.
The fastest, easiest, dependable, and most accurate means of doing a quantitative fit-test is with the PortaCount Plus, which is what is used by KG Safety Services’s own fit testers.
Quantitative mask-fit testing offers several distinct advantages:
- It eliminates the reliance on the participant’s subjectivity and sensitivity when detecting agents with qualitative testing.
- Results are immediate and deliver either a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ using a numerical value. Results can be maintained electronically and each worker receives a card with their testing information.
- The test can be used to analyze almost all respirators including elastomeric half and full-face masks, PAPRs, SCBA, and even disposable regulators.
- The quantitative mask-fit testing software complies with many regulatory standards including those from the Canadian Standards Association.
Fit testing is required annually by the majority of regulatory bodies. However, the Canadian Standards Association does allow for it to occur on a bi-annual basis when quantitative testing is completed.
KG Safety services recommends annual mask-fit testing, in conjunction with spirometry testing to continue to protect workers’ lung health through medical monitoring and early intervention.
Fit Test Record
All participants who successfully complete the fit test are provided with a wallet card indicating the respirator fitted and its size. The employer will receive a “record of training” in the form of a fit test report they can keep on file.
Other Respiratory Services
KG Safety Services offers several services and training programs associated with respiratory protection.
- Respiratory Protection Training – Air purifying equipment (4hr)
- Respiratory Protection Training – Air supplied equipment (4hr)
- Respiratory Protection Training – Air purifying & supplied equipment (8hr)
These services and training programs represent elements of an effective respiratory program. Attention should also be given to:
- Hazard assessment
- Engineering controls
- Policy development and review
- Selection, care, use and maintenance of respirators
- Program review