Respiratory Fit Testing
• Quantitative (Portacount Plus)
Annual Respirator Training
Respirators must be comfortable or they won’t be used, and they must fit well and operate properly or they won’t be effective. This is why OSHA standards require annual respirator fit testing on all tight fitting respirators. These include dust masks, quarter face respirators, half face respirators, and full face respirators. Annual fit testing insures that the respirator is the proper size and fit, and that the tight fitting seal is not compromised, affording reliable protection for the user.
There are two methods for performing respiratory fit testing, qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative fit testing is subjective, and relies on the ability of the user to sense a test agent, such as irritant smoke (stannic chloride), saccharin, or banana oil (isoamyl acetate). Since individuals have different levels of sensitivity to each of these particular agents, the testing results tend to vary considerably.
Quantitative fit testing assigns a numerical value to the ambient air outside of the respirator, and a numerical value for the filtered air inside the respirator, to establish a performance ratio that is not dependant on the wearer. Occupational Safety believes strongly in the value of quantitative fit testing, as removing the human element allows for more dependable, precise and reliable recordkeeping. Occupational Safety uses only TSI Portacount Plus testing units, recognized as the leading quantitative fit testing equipment in the industry.