Respiratory Mask Fit Testing
Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect the wearer. Since most harmful substances enter the body through inhalation, a respirator should always be worn when there is a risk of exposure to potentially harmful airborne contaminants.
The use of reusable respirators and their applicable filters can be crucial in preventing infectious diseases from spreading breathing in harmful toxins and mechanically produced substances. Respiratory fit testing determines whether the respirator seal forms sufficient protection around the wearer’s face against dust, mist, fumes, gases, vapours, and biological hazards.
Western Work Force conducts fit testing in accordance with the Australian Standard, AS/NZS 1715:2009 selection, use, and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment. AS/NZS 1715(2.6) requires that a well-fitting facepiece must be tested at least once a year for all people using Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE).
A respirator fit test is the method for checking that a tight fitting facepiece matches the persons facial features and seals adequately to the wearer’s face. It is performed under controlled conditions and can help to identify unsuitable facepieces which should not be used by the individual.
Respiratory Mask Training
In accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS1715-2009, respiratory protective equipment training is provided to workers and their supervisors who may be required to wear RPE for the risk of exposure to atmospheric hazards.
Training will include the following topics:
• The importance of engineering or administrative controls.
• Facial hair requirements.
• Types of respirators and the uses of each.
• Protection factors, limitations and cartridge life.
• Donning, removal and disinfection.
• Mechanical fit testing.
• Hot weather use.
• Equipment checking, cleaning, maintenance and storage.
It is mandatory for workers to have successfully passed a mask fit test before using a respirator in a work situation. Re-certification of RPE training shall take place at a minimum of once per year.