According to the government of Ontario regulations, if you wear a tight-fitting respirator for your job, then you need to get either a qualitative or quantitative fit test done on it.
Quantitative FIT Testing:
Quantitative fit testing gives you a numerical reading that will let you know how effective the seal is on your respirator. It uses a special measuring instrument called a porta count machine that can accurately measure face-seal leakage. Quantitative fit testing is a much more accurate form of testing than qualitative tests.
It is especially appropriate for workers who are wearing respirators in situations where there may be an immediate threat to life such as exposure to hazardous chemicals or contagions.
Qualitative FIT Testing
Qualitative fit testing gives you either a pass or a fail result. This type of testing is performed by simply spraying some bitter or sweet aerosols near you while you are wearing your respirator.
If you can taste or smell the spray, or if you experience irritation then your respirator is not fitting you correctly.
According to Ontario regulations, an employer needs to provide training and instruction to any worker before they use a respirator for the first time, teaching them how to properly care for and use it. This training needs to include:
- Understanding the limitations of the respirator
- How to inspect and properly maintain the respirator including “in the case of an air-purifying respirator, end of service life indicators or change out schedules for the cartridge, canister or filter”
- Proper fitting of the respirator
- How to properly clean and disinfect the respirator
You need to have respirator mask fit tested:
- Before you use your respirator for the first time
- At least once every 2 years
- If you change your respirator size – for example, if you lose weight and need a smaller respirator, then you will need to get fit tested for a new one.
There are several different types of respirators that need to be fit tested. These include:
- Filter Facepieces (N95)
- Half-face Respirators
- Full-face Respirators
- Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA’s)
Proof of Testing:
By doing a quantitative fit test, GCI can provide you with individual fit testing reports and fit testing cards which gives you proof that your testing has been completed and has been effective.