Posted: 14 Mar '13

Quantitative and Qualitative Fit Testing

You are required to have mask fit testing completed prior to wearing a respirator. A mask fit test will measure the sealing ability of the mask and if it there are any leaks on the seal to your face. Your are fit tested for a specific mask size and model, the test must be completed on other types and sizes of masks. If you undergo any changes to your face size/shape due to weight changes, scars, surgery, dental work you may need to complete another fit test. Fit tests are generally valid for one year. Fit testing relies on you being clean shaven. The Alberta OHS code says at a minimum no hair can be between the mask seal and the skin the seal contacts.

Qualitative fit testing generally uses substances like irritant smoke and banana oil to determine is the wearer can smell a leak in the mask. Quantitative is quite a bit more expensive and sophisticated, however it is much more reliable. In this process they use a machine to determine the amount of air leakage as you breath.

Canadian Society of Engineering Safety Alberta Construction Safety Association Canadian Safety Standards Training Alliance