Qualitative vs. Quantitative Mask Fit Testing: What’s The Difference?

The world of environmental safety continues to expand with every passing day. Whether new legislation is being introduced or manufacturers are raising the bar with their products, some part of environmental safety is always in flux. 

As a result, we must all rely on our peers, suppliers, subcontractors and partners to help support our knowledge and inform our decisions. Today, we attempt to shed a bit of light on our chosen forte, namely mask fit testing.

What is Mask Fit Testing?

Mask fit testing refers to the process of certifying or clearing an individual to wear a respirator. Many different respirators can be tested, including half and full-face respirators. After successfully completing the test, employers will receive documentation that states the testing occurred and how successful it was. Additionally, the employee who underwent the test will know the proper way to wear the mask to prevent harm from breathing toxic or dangerous materials.


What Do the Results of Mask Fit Testing Indicate?

The results from mask fit testing come in two distinct forms, namely qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative Testing

A qualitative test determines a general “pass-fail” scenario. Usually, these tests rely on an individual’s ability to taste a sprayable solution. If they detect the odour or taste, they have not achieved a secure fit.

Quantitative Testing

machine. This state-of-the-art equipment allows the control of negative pressure inside the mask. Further, to keep the pressure constant, it must pull out any additional air leaking into the respirator. The measurement indicates how much air leaks into the respirator, which is converted into a fit factor.

Quantitative fit testing is considered the gold standard for testing as it provides information about how well the respirator actually fits. Unlike qualitative testing, which only offers a yes or no, quantitative results measure the effectiveness of the facial seal. This can help identify sizing issues as well as prevent subjective results.

Find the Right Test for You Today

Whether your employees need quantitative or qualitative mask fit testing, the first call you need to make is Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing. We come to you, so don’t delay; call today!

Rocky Mountain Mobile Hearing Testing is your locally owned and operated Calgary business. We are committed to providing mobile hearing testing services and other safety tests, to numerous industries and companies in Western Canada. Our services are part of the WorkSafeBC Provider Network, while our sound booths are approved by the CSA. We offer audiometry testing, mask fit testing, custom earplugs, noise measurements, help with implementing a hearing conservation program, and spirometry testing. If you want to improve your workplace, leave it in the hands of our team. Contact us today on (403) 399-4775.    

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