Humanomics specialises in Respirator and Face Fit Tests across Newcastle and Sydney.

Every face is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to dust masks. Thankfully, a Respirator Fit Test ensures an airtight seal that protects employees against hazardous substances in the workplace.

What is a Respirator Fit Test?

Also known as a Fit Test, Face Fit Test or Dust Mask Fit Test, a Respirator Fit Test measures the effectiveness of the seal between a respirator and its wearer’s face.

There are two methods:

  • Qualitative – a pass/fail test that relies on the wearer’s ability to taste or smell a test agent. This type of test can be used on half-face respirators.
  • Quantitative – uses specialised equipment to measure how much air leaks into the respirator. This type of test can be used on half-face and full-face respirators.

At Humanomics, we perform Quantitative Fit Testing only. Our professional team meets the needs of our valued clients through:

  • The availability of four portacounts throughout our clinics, resulting in quick turn-around times for bookings
  • Staff who are fully trained and highly experienced in Respirator Fit Testing
  • Our insistence on meeting industry standards and expectations through full compliance and ISO 9001 accreditation

Discover the benefits of Respirator Fit Testing

More and more companies are taking up fit testing (especially in asbestos removal), which is an essential component of any respiratory protection program.

Benefits for both employers and workers include:

  • Verification that workers are using the proper make, model and size of respirator
  • Education on the correct use of respiratory equipment
  • Assurance of proper protection, which reduces workers’ risk of developing chronic respiratory illnesses
  • Compliance in monitoring employee health
  • A greater understanding of how all PPE works together

The Respirator Fit Test procedure

Our onsite Respirator Fit Testing can be used for any type of tight-fitting respirator. This is important, as workers must be fit tested with the specific make, model, style, and size of the respirator that they will be using.  

This respirator will have a probe attached to its facepiece, which will be connected to a machine by a hose. That machine, known as a portacount, then measures the amount of leakage into the facepiece.

If workers wear additional PPE or prescription eyewear on the job, it should be worn during this Fit Test. That’s because earmuffs, hardhats, visors, or even heavy clothing can interfere with the way a respirator fits. Likewise, workers are also required to be clean shaven during your fit test and any respirator use.

Workers must be fit tested before using a respirator in the workplace, and then retested at least every 12 months to make sure this respirator still fits. 

Frequently asked questions

Who is Respirator Fit Testing for?

Anyone who wears a respirator during the course of their normal working day, or to perform emergency response activities, should be fit tested to make sure the facepiece provides an effective seal.

This includes occupations such as Quarry Workers, Coal miners, Spray painters, Concreters, Stone Masons, Kitchen Manufacturers, Welders, and those exposed to hazardous substances such as particulate matter and fumes.

Is Fit Testing mandatory for all workers wearing a respirator?

Harmonized states fall under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. Neither the Act nor the Regulation state Fit Testing as a legal requirement.

However, the following guidance does:

Codes of Practice

The How to Safely Remove Asbestos Code of Practice 2011 recommends that a Fit Test be conducted in accordance with AS/NZS 1715:2009, ‘Selection, Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protective Devices’.

Australian Standards

AS/NZS 1715 specifies that users of any tight-fitting masks are to be fit tested prior to starting work, and then at least once a year moving forward.

Manufacturer Specifications

Sundström, a maker of high-quality respirators, specifies that all masks must be worn in accordance with a written protection program built in line with AS/NZS 1715.

How does a portacount work?

A portacount does not rely upon sense of taste, smell, or irritation to detect leakage. Instead, it works by measuring the concentration of microscopic dust particles in the ambient air, as well as that which leaks into the respirator. The ratio of these two concentrations is called the fit factor.

As filter cartridges stop all particles from entering, anything that gets into a worker’s mask must have come through the face seal.