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Face Fit Testing Near Me | Nationwide Fit2Fit Testers with ESS

Posted on Friday, 30th August 2019

Face Fit Testing Near Me | Nationwide Fit2Fit Testers with ESS

This week we are looking at Face Fit Testing, who needs it, how easily available it is and why it is so important. Face Fit Testing is an essential part of any on-site health and safety, particularly when RPE is involved.

Who needs Face Fit Testing? 

You may be wondering ‘What is Face Fit Testing’?  Face Fit Testing is a method for checking that a specific tight-fitting safety mask fits and securely seals around the wearers face. The masks can also be referred to as Respiratory Protective Equipment or RPE

To determine who requires a Face Fit Test will depend on their work activities. Many workers wear respirators or breathing apparatus to protect their health whilst at work. It is extremely important for those that work in environments that may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of dust, mist, vapour, gas or fumes.  The following work activities are an example:

  • Cutting materials such as wood or stone
  • Using products containing volatile solvents
  • Handling a dusty powder
  • Welding stainless steel

Those hazardous substances can be present in the air as particles (solid or liquid), and even exist under certain conditions in more than one form (paint spraying for example).  Examples of the different forms of hazardous substances:facefit harmful substances

There are occasions where workers may work in areas where oxygen levels are low, or may become low such as confined spaces, as such, a particular type of RPE may be selected which includes breathing apparatus equipment designed to protect these wearers from oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

It’s not only during work activities we see people now wearing masks, large cities have long had pollutant trouble, with some people wearing FFP/nuisance masks through the streets. So it isn't just the construction industry where there is a cause for concern for airborne particles.

Respiratory related diseases are one of the biggest causes of workplace illness. Risk levels can differ depending on your career, from carpenters to metal workers and even bakers, so this is why face fit testing is so important.

What are the types of Face Fit Testing?

There are two types of face fit testing: Qualitative and Quantitative.

  • Qualitative testing is a face fit method based on the taste or smell of a sweet/bitter material and is dependent on whether the wearer is able to detect anything.
  • Quantitative testing is a method performed using particle counting or controlled negative pressure devices. From a numerical measurement taken, a Fit Factor (a calculation of the effectiveness of fit) can be established.

The type of Face Fit Test you will need is dependent on the type of RPE you are required to wear on site, with guidance on which mask requires which test – provided by the HSG53 Guide by HSE.

Further guidance for conducting fit tests can be found at INDG479.

Preparing for a Face Fit Test (Qualitative Dust Mask)

Before the Face Fit Test

face fitAttendees must be clean shaven. The fit test will not be carried out if there is any hair growth between the skin and the face piece sealing surface e.g. stubble beard growth, beard, moustache, as this will affect the seal and intended level of protection.

Those attending must not eat or drink (except plain water), smoke/vape or chew gum for at least 30 minutes before the test takes place, due to new guidance.

How long does a Face Fit Test Last?

The face fit test will take approximately 15-20 minutes.

Fit2Fit Testers

All of our face fit trainers are Fit2Fit accredited which means that you are receiving the highest standard of testing endorsed by BSIF and the HSE, demonstrating that you are following good practice.

How long does a Face Fit Certificate last?

We recommend as part of your safe system of work (SSOW), you periodically test RPE as good practice.

On completion of your Face Fit Test; your certification is valid for 3 years (unless otherwise stated by your employer). However, you must always take a new Face Fit Test if you:

  • Get any different type of RPE mask which requires a different test/is not similar to the mask used in your previous test
  • Have any kind of dental or facial surgery which may affect the seal of the mask
  • If you break your nose/jaw
  • Gain or lose a significant amount of weight which may make the mask too loose/tight
  • Feel that your mask is no long working to the same level/is compromised in some way

Please note, if you work with asbestos, you are required to be tested annually.

Face Fit Testing Near Me

Essential Site Skills offer on-site Face Fit Testing Nationwide, so no matter where you are based, one of our Fit2Fit Testers can come to site for your convenience. Call us on 0115 8970 529 to speak to one of our friendly team members who can advise dates and costs at your required location, or email [email protected].

face fit course

Is Face Fit Testing Important? Am I at Risk?

Every workplace has the potential to produce harmful airborne materials. This is especially true for construction sites. With workers typically doing jobs involving sandblasting, brick-cutting, and general dust-producing tasks, employees must have the proper protection. A lot of materials used on construction sites may present harmful dust.

One major common issue on construction sites, is the production of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) . Inhalation of harmful substances such as RCS can can unfortunately lead to diseases such as, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)Silicosis and even Lung Cancer - which is why it is so important that your mask is perfectly fitted. If the mask you wear does not fit correctly, it is not just an inconvenience, it is essentially rendered ineffective and useless.

PPE/RPE is a last resort, more suitable control measures must be used in accordance with relevant HSE documentation and guidance, such as COSHH Essentials.

Face Fit Testing is a Legal Requirement!

Fit2Fit Accreditation Explained

fit2fit logoThe Fit2Fit Accreditation Scheme was developed in 2009 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the British Safety Industry Federation along with other industry bodies. The scheme requires that all face fit test providers must demonstrate an acceptable level of competency to responsible employers. There is a difference between Face Fit testing and someone conducting a fit check when putting on RPE. Here at Essential Site Skills, we have both Fit2Fit accreditation and are a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier, so we are fully trained and equipped to provide all of your Face Fit Testing needs.


How do I book a Face Fit Test?

For more information and to enquire regarding booking a Face Fit Test you can visit our website and look through the course information. We also deliver Face Fit Train the Tester so that you can test your own staff at your convenience, delivered by one of our Accredited Fit2Fit Trainers. Alternatively, call ESS on 0115 8970 529 to speak to one of our friendly team members and go through which course is best for you.

We pride ourselves on our knowledge of RPE training so not only do we offer a range of Face Fit courses, we also have a an online shop with a range of Respiratory Protective Equipment for sale – including an extensive range of RPE, and even your own qualitative fit test kit – all at excellent prices.

If you are interested in any other courses please use our homepage search button, or visit our course index page to view the qualifications we deliver.

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