Respirator Fit Test – FAQ
In order to prevent and protect yourself from the spread of airborne illnesses, updated policies surrounding personal protective equipment have emerged in North America. Respiratory masks are increasingly common sight in organizations across Canada and the US, including Dental offices.
Simple. A fit test.
A fit test is the only way to determine if the respirator mask fits you properly by creating an adequate seal. This will protect you from hazardous airborne agents.
The risk is your health and safety.
A mask that doesn’t fit properly and has not sealed around your face correctly is not doing its job to protect you.
If you have never had a fit test before and are required to wear a respirator you need to be fit tested according to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and OSHA.
Every year or two years depending on workplace policies, CSA standards, (Z18.104.22.168), OSHA regulations or local guidelines
– If there are changes to your physical condition which could affect the respirator fit. This may include weight loss or weight gain, surgery, piercings or major dental work
– If you are using a new respirator make or model
Yes, according to the Canadian Standards Association (Z22.214.171.124) and OSHA regulations, every worker using a respirator must be fit tested if they are required to wear one.
You must be tested on the mask you will be using. If your mask does not pass the fit test, depending on availability, Prime Practice might be able to provide an alternative model (cost and model may vary).
You may have heard of the terms “Qualitative” and “Quantitative” when describing a fit test. Both test the effectiveness of a mask’s fit.
A Qualitative fit test is based on the wearer’s ability to taste a harmless solution at very low levels. This fit test requires wearing a hood and may take twice as long as a quantitative test which can be considered subjective.
Prime Practice uses the newest technology in Quantitative fit testing. Our leading-edge technology measures particles inside and outside the mask requiring no hood. This test is considered fast, easy and most reliable.
A mutually agreed upon time will be scheduled for a Prime Team member to be at your office.
You will be asked to provide the exact model of respirator mask that you will be wearing for the Fit test
Our Team member will secure our technology to your mask. You will also be asked to wear any additional PPE such as protective eye wear, visors and any head coverings. Once connected, you will be asked to go through a series of exercises such as talking, turning your head from side to side and nodding. These exercises are required by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) (Z94.B.1.5.2) and OSHA guidelines.
Throughout the testing, we will be taking measurements of the level of particles inside the mask compared to the ambient air outside of the mask. If there is high particle count inside the mask, then a good seal has not been achieved. If there is a very low particle count, the mask is a good fit.
You cannot eat, drink, chew gum, brush your teeth with toothpaste or smoke an hour before being fit tested. Drinking water is fine.
– You need to ensure that you are healthy enough to wear a respirator. This is done through a Medical Assessment ( please see medical assessment form on previous page).
- You must be cleanshaven where the respirator seals against the face. This is because facial hair can prevent a proper seal.
Congratulations! You are safe.
If you pass the fit test, this indicates that the respirator mask you are using is a good fit. We will then send you an email with a printable wallet card indicating you have passed your fit test for the specific make and model of respirator that was worn during the test.
You may need to provide proof to your governing body that you have passed your respirator fit test as stated in the guidelines.
If you fail the test this means that the respirator mask is not a good fit or that a good seal was not achieved. The Prime Team Member will try and adjust the respirator however if it does not achieve a better seal, then we will recommend that you do not use that make and model. Ideally, you have different types of respirator masks available during the fit test to help ensure that you find the right respirator.
Prime Practice Team members may have certain models available (cost, models and availability may vary).
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