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Respiratory Fit Testing

A poorly fitting respirator presents a number of issues for workers in a variety of workplaces from hospitals and medical facilities to construction sites and manufacturing floors. Whether you need to protect your employees from air germs, viruses and bacteria or dirt, dust, sand or toxic chemicals, our qualitative fit testing will ensure your employees have the right mask with a proper fit, know how to put on and remove it, conduct seal tests and store their masks at the end of their shift. Using several harmless scent and flavour compounds, we’ll test the seal of your employee’s masks to ensure it will protect them against the harmful, caustic, irritating or toxic chemicals at your facility. 

What is a Qualitative Fit Test?

Essentially, a qualitative fit test utilizes a participant's own senses to determine if a mask is properly fitted and functioning properly. Here, we use a participant’s sense of smell, taste or their reaction to an irritant to detect inward leakage with a mask. The mask passes the test if the participant does not experience a qualitative or subjective reaction to the test material. At 1 Contact Safety, we have four different qualitative fit testing methods available to our customers depending on the usage situation and the type of mask including: 1) isoamyl acetate, which is a fruit-flavored scent compound; 2) saccharin, which is more commonly known as artificial sweetener; 3) bitrex, which is a harmless yet extremely bitter compound; and, 4) an irritant smoke. 

What Masks Do We Test?

Broadly speaking, respirators fall into two generalized categories: air purifying and supplied air respirators. While air purifying models use filters, cartridges or canisters to filter the surrounding air, supplied air respirators provide an independent source of clean air for the user.

Mask Types

Overall, there are 3 types of air purifying respirators that we can perform qualitative fit testing on including the following categories:

Half Mask Respirators

A half-mask is a type of respirator that is designed to filter airborne particles but only covers part of the face. Since this type of mask stops short of the upper half of the face, and does not include goggles, it does not provide any eye protection. 

Full Mask Respirators

Full mask respirators protect the wearer from inhaling hazardous vapors, gases and fumes. Full face respirators protect the face as well as the eyes, and filter out contaminants with the help of cartridges or filters

N-95 Medical Masks

An N95 respirator is a partial fabric medical mask, designed to fit very close and efficiently filter airborne particles. The 'N95' designation means that the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles.

Respirator Fit - The Law

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Subsection​ 13(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, respirators must be fitted to provide an effective seal between the respirator and an employee’s face. Specifically, the respirator “must be of an appropriate size for the worker's face and that facial hair and scars or other irregularities must not interfere with the seal and that these devices are not to be worn unless the worker has passed an appropriate qualitative or quantitative fit test.” As such, it’s absolutely essential to have your employees undergo a qualitative fit test to ensure your compliance with federal and provincial law. Don’t wait until you’re facing MOL fines or a forced work stoppage and reach out to 1 Contact Safety today! 

Book Your Test With 1 Contact Safety

As you can see, we offer a comprehensive respiratory fit testing program that's adaptable to any number of  needs and applications. Whether you're testing for a medical office, fire or rescue services, construction or manufacturing, reach out to 1 Contact Safety today! Book your qualitative respiratory fit test today by clicking the button below.

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