Justin Lobdell - Jan 15, 2020

Pitfalls in Fit Testing

When it comes to your Respiratory Protection Program, annual fit testing can be a huge undertaking. Fit testing can be painstaking and the regulations confusing. At OHD, we know that while protection is everything, compliance is key. There are several pitfalls to avoid with fit testing, and fit testing with the Quantifit can help you avoid many of them.

For instance, did you know that fit testing requires a five minute comfort assessment? Although this is a requirement for all methods of fit testing, this can be performed independent of the machine with the Quantifit. If you are using Ambient Aerosol testing methods, you will need to conduct this assessment either in conjunction with the required five minute aerosol purge or in addition to this purge. The purge is required when using aerosol fit testing methods and must be performed with the sampling probe and line to the instrument attached to the facepiece1. This purges the ambient particles trapped inside the respirator1. The Quantifit does not use particles, so there is no purging required, and the comfort assessment can take place before testing without having to be tethered to the machine.

Ambient aerosol methods also require the probing of the respirator which must be done before the five minute purge begins1. This is not as simple as attaching the adapter to the mask. A fundamental mistake that is often made with Ambient Aerosol methods of fit testing is to not extend the sampling tubing through the inhalation valve and into the breathing zone2. Probe placement (or neglecting to probe at all) can significantly influence fit testing results3. The Quantifit does not need a probe to catch particles because it uses air to directly measure actual air leakage.

The Quantifit can also be used in any environment. There is no minimum requirement for a particle count in the air, or maximum count to ensure your fit factors aren’t suspiciously high. The Quantifit can be used outside or in a firehouse bay, a warehouse or a clean room. We are the most accurate, the easiest, and still the fastest fit test method available. Let us help you get the facts in fit testing.

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1. OSHA. Appendix A to 1910.134: Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory), Retrieved January 13, 2020.

2. TSI. 2012. PortaCount Pro 8030 and Portacount Pro+ 8038 Respirator Fit Testers – Operation and Service Manual.

3. Myers W., Allender, J., Plummer, R., and Stobbe, T. 1986. Parameters that Bias the Measurement of Airborne Concentration Within a Respirator. Am. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J. 47 pp 106-114

Written by Justin Lobdell