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Is fit testing fit for purpose

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Product Description

Is fit testing fit for purpose?

A discussion and observations on the validity of current test methods of fit testing RPD and of its relevance in improving occupational safety.

This, easy to read, illustrated paper, defines the current rules and protocol on Fit-testing and explores the cautions with which these should be observed.
Indeed; there are some regards in which these regulations appear inadvertently to impeded the correct Selection, Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protective Equipment.

Fit Testing is not new. It has been an implicit duty on Employers and Workers, since 1974 and, for Confined Spaces  and other special work, or risks, it has been a requirement since 1931.

Our policy is to encourage the sensible, practical betterment of occupational safety with efficiency and the least 'box-ticking' administration practicably possible. For anyone who's working day involves RPD and it management, then this is a 'must-read'.

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Product Reviews

  1. Particle count Fit testing is not always appropriate for CABA

    Posted by Bill on 16th May 2017

    Testing respirator and breathing apparatus wearers for face-fit efficacy has been well practiced in Britain for a hundred years. Simple tests have traditionally been used for masks; for example; blocking inlet ports and ‘sucking’ the mask onto the face, to see if it stays there, apparently held in place by the partial vacuum.

    The collective tranche of user experience and pathology data proved such testing adequate over the whole of Britain’s industrial epoch. ‘Vacuum’ testing is not possible, however, for filtering face-pieces that have since become very popular. These offer generally lower protection values and fit-testing is correspondingly less critical.

    Neither are such tests relevant to positive pressure breathing apparatus.
    Despite a ninety percent reduction in the ‘exposed’ population of Britain, due to export of its industry, Regulation was introduced to tackle a problem that had never appeared! Fit testing was made a mandatory feature of compliance (with Health and Safety Regulation).

    If tests are made mandatory, it is vital that specified tests should properly convey reliably safe results.
    The author questions whether such results are attained in practice. Rather, he suspects, DANGEROUS results can be attained; speciously claiming far greater accuracy and higher protection factors than are palpable and therefore wrongly indicating safe conditions for hazardous situations.

    Under Regulation; methods of fit testing remain recommended and determined by the PPE manufacturer. It is suggested many suppliers of PPE do not understand the environments in which their products are sold and used, nor do they yet appear to understand the principles of EFP and TIL calculation, first explored in Sweden and Britain, during the sixties and seventies.

    On the other hand, the governing authorities (such as, in Britain, the Health & Safety Executive) provide guidance as to suitable methods of testing, the calculation of ‘Protection Factors’ and the relevance of such information in determining the challenge from insulting Hazards and afterward mitigating Risks by using suitable PPE. The guidance is competent and qualified but often too complex to be absorbed by users of PPE and their immediate managers. It is therefore of value only to a limited population.

    Recent research has confirmed concern over the accuracy and relevance of portable fit testing equipment. Some kits, particularly particle dispersion analysers, prove substantially inaccurate compared to expectations –especially where appropriate to high Protection Factors.
    Referring to these papers and exploring the implications, this discussion deals with a further area of concern over the inability of current tests to emulate representative results for the intended respiratory challenges. This is especially questionable with water soluble gases and aerosol, such as Oxides and Hydrides of Nitrogen, Sulphur and Halogens – all of which are commonly encountered challenges.

    The author cites continuing work where evidence of injury resulting from these poor understandings is investigated. He concludes that portable fit testing kits be viewed providing unreliable data where High PFs are concerned and results of otherwise very limited value. He explains why Fit-testing methods MUST be secondary to the topical Risk Assessment and NOT viewed in isolation and why the idea of ‘approved’ methods of test may lead the unwary astray from the safe practice evident before regulation.
    Fit-testers must be competent both in the challenges for which the PPE has been selected and in the limitations of the methods used. Evidence suggests this is not the case, in Europe or America.


  2. Thought provoking and educational

    Posted by Joanne on 8th Mar 2013

    Thought provoking and educational; answers to problems explained and illustrated


  3. Real Food for thought..

    Posted by Sarah on 11th Jan 2013

    ..especially in days where the government promises to make safety rules simpler and more effective


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