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Face Fit Testing

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HSE Face Fit Testing

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stipulates that respiratory protective equipment (RPE) must provide adequate protection for the individual wearers from potentially dangerous dust and fumes to protect their lungs. To do this a secure and leakproof fit must be made, as one of the most common causes for inadequate protection is a poorly fitting mask.

Face fit testing ensures that RPE fits properly and that each individual has the correct mask ensuring a safer working environment for employees. Everyone is different meaning that the fit of a mask is different on each individual. RPE is not a ‘one size fits all’ affair making Face Fit testing such an important part of issuing suitable and adequate masks to employees. RPE is designed to protect the wearer from the hazards faced within their workplace and confirms the type and size that is suitable for them.


What Does Face Fit Testing Consist Of?

Face fit testing is a way of testing that RPE matches the wearers facial features and seals adequately to their face. On this test, delegates will experience a qualitative face fit test. Our face fit testers are competent to the standard required by the HSE guidance HSG53 and INDG479.

Delegates will need to bring their mask on the day and they must also be clean shaven to ensure the best fit and efficiency of the RPE. Face fit testing can not be undertaken if you are not clean shaven as there will always be a leak in the mask fitting.

Before the face fit testing, delegates are asked not to eat, drink (except still unflavoured water), smoke, vape or chew gum for at least 1 hour before the test.

Our face fit testing begins with delegates completing a taste test to ensure they can taste the solution ahead of the test itself. This will be a bitter taste and confirms that when the qualitative test is undertaken it will provide accurate test results.

During the face fit testing, delegates will need to complete a series of exercises to see if the mask moves or leaks. The fit test is complete when the series of tasks have been completed without any taste being noticed.

Upon completion of the test, the delegate will receive a pass / fail certificate. Within this document it will detail the type of mask the test has been undertaken on and if it successfully passed the face fit test. This can be used to enable the user to obtain the correct RPE in the future.


How Often Should Face Fit Testing Be Carried Out?

Face fit testing should be done at least every 2 years to ensure the fit of the mask is still effective.

Face fit testing should also be repeated when there is a change to the RPE type, size, model or material. Or if there is a change in circumstances for the wearer such as weight loss or gain, substantial dental work, facial changes such as scars, moles, ageing or facial piercings.


Facial Hair and RPE

As general guidance for users of RPE, it is required to not have any facial hair such as stubble or beards. This is because masks rely on a good seal against the face and any gaps will allow dust and fumes to reach the lungs. It is impossible to have a good seal with facial hair, so we request any RPE users are clean shaven. Where individuals have a good reason for having a beard such as religious reasons, then alternative RPE should be sourced that doesn’t require a tight seal to work effectively.


Book A Place On Our Face Fit Test Today

Harrington Safety can provide a range of bespoke health and safety training to work around your business, providing a range of different training options to suit your needs. We are leaders in providing health and safety training to the construction industry with all of our trainers being experienced veterans of the sector.

The test is designed to be interactive, easy to understand and simple to follow. Call us now to book spaces on our face fit test. Alternatively, you can book online or email us at info@harringtonsafety.co.uk.

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