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  • Writer's pictureRebekah McCutcheon

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR MASK FIT TEST

Updated: Apr 27

If you require a mask fit test, this article will cover what to expect when you book an appointment with Fit Test Australia Pty Ltd (FTA) or have our team come to you on site.


Why Should You Get A Mask Fit Test?


Firstly, anyone required to wear a respirator should have it checked to ensure that it is the correct size and style to suit their individual unique face, the only proper way to do this is undergo a fit test.  It also states in the AS/NZS1715:2009 standards that a mask should be fit tested prior to use and annually thereafter.


Respirators, more commonly referred to as masks, are tight fitting and require an adequate seal to the wearers face in order for that mask to purify the air you breath and provide the intended protection stated.


Anytime you wear a mask, if it leaks (has gaps between your skin and the mask) then you are still exposed to the very risk you are trying to gain protection from.


Your Mask Fit Test Appointment


Our primary goal as a fit tester is to test the masks you are being supplied with at your workplace, see if they fit (make and hold a seal), and if they don’t, test other options until we find  one that is best suited to you and passes the fit test deeming it suitable to wear at work.


Our team will check that prerequisites have been met, this means no smoking, eating or drinking (water accepted) 30 minutes prior to your mask fit test and being clean shaven within the mask seal zone. Again, all of these requests align with the AS/NZS1715:2009 standards, Fit Test Australia Pty ltd will always test in line with requirements set by the standards that govern how we conduct the service.


Explaining Your Mask Fit Test


First, we will enter your details into our software.


Our team will then provide training covering the following points.


  • Correct donning and doffing of your respirator (putting a mask on and off properly).

  • Explain a fit check.

  • Explain the fit test.

  • Explain the purpose of your respirator/mask


The first step is donning your mask, we then train how to wear it line with the manufacturer’s recommendation, check for comfort also. Once we can see a seal is being achieved, we then go on to start the test.

 

Using the OSHA quick modified version, our objective is to challenge the seal in motion. This involves the wearer emulating basic human movement. If a mask cannot hold a seal during this time, it is not deemed suitable for work and should not be worn.


The test exercises are as follows:


  • Bending at the waist

  • Reading the rainbow passage (jogging if testing a reusable mask)

  • Looking left to right

  • Looking up and down


You will be requested not to touch or interfere with the mask during your fit test, you'll be asked to perform the exercises stated, failure to do so may result in the test being terminated and a retest needing to be conducted.


 

If you are wearing the elastomeric mask you will be required to jog in place of reading the passage. Elastomeric (reusable) masks are sturdier, therefore challenging the seal can be a little more vigorous as their tasks may be more hands on and/or labour intensive.


Those testing the elastomeric masks will be advised of cleaning, storage and filter replacement. To know what filters are suitable for what hazard you can read more in our respiratory filter selection blog.


Wrong filters for the hazard present mean you are still likely exposed to that hazard.


Once the test is completed, we issue you a certificate and email it to you on the spot then

we print you out a little ID card that is convenient to reference your mask and results whilst having a handy when asked for compliance of your mask fit test on different sites if you work in the industrial sector or for different facilities if you work in healthcare.   


All of this will conclude your mask fit test. Stay safe and breathe easy from the FTA team.


Your health and safety is our priority

Call: 0403 064 064

FTA fit test Melbourne Victoria and Sydney NSW 

 

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