Mask Fit Testing

What Is Mask Fit Testing & Why Is It Important?

Mask fit testing is one of the most important precautionary steps that management must take to protect their employees. Unfortunately, despite the Alberta OH&S Guidelines, plenty of managers and employers do not conduct the necessary testing to protect their workers. Here is why they should do it: 

What Is Mask Fit Testing? 

Mask fit testing is the process of testing whether an employee’s respirator is correctly fitted to their face, ensuring that they are not exposed to any hazardous airborne conditions. The test verifies whether employees are using the right make, model and size of respirator, and assessing if they are comfortable in doing so. 

It should be noted that there are two types of mask fit tests: Qualitative and Quantitative.

A quantitative test measures how much the respirator might leak with the use of a quantifit machine. Using state of the art Controlled Negative Pressure, the Quantifit pulls a negative pressure inside the mask, and to keep the pressure constant, it must pull out any additional air that leaks into the respirator. The measurement indicates how much air has leaked into the respirator, and this is converted into a fit factor.

A qualitative test is based entirely on an employee’s ability to smell and taste a spray solution. Their reactions will indicate if the masks are correctly fitted. Getting both tests conducted is necessary for the safety of employees. 

Employees who wear a tight-fitting respirator during a typical workday, such as those in heavy-duty jobs and industries, or require a respirator to perform emergency response activities should take the tests. 

Mask Fit Testing

Why Is A Mask Fit Testing Important?

In industries, such as construction and oil and gas, employees are exposed to airborne hazards, such as dust and chemicals. Exposure to these airborne hazards can make the employees severely sick (in some cases, fatally), resulting in them missing out on work, and putting them on workers’ compensation. As such, this can severely damage the morale of workers, as well as delay projects. 

Worksafe Alberta determines that employers must adhere to the Alberta OH&S Guidelines for fit testing if employees are work in areas where they are exposed to such airborne hazardous. Employers must conduct mask fitting tests when: 

  • when the employee is first issued a respirator and then at least every two years after
  • if the respirator mask changes
  • if conditions at the workplace change
  • if the worker has suffered facial features that might change the tightness of the respirator

The above guide highlights the importance that comes with conducting mask fit testing. Do not risk the lives and safety of your employees by not getting these tests organized at your workplace. 

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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