Health Surveillance

Time to clear the air

People often work in air contaminated with dust, fume and other airborne hazards that can damage health or even lead to an early death.

In many cases when exposure cannot be avoided, employers will use respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect their workforce.  Where RPE is used, it must be able to provide adequate protection for individual wearers. RPE can’t protect the wearer if it leaks. A major cause of leaks is poor fit – tight-fitting facepieces need to fit the wearer’s face to be effective.

As people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes it is unlikely that one particular type or size of RPE facepiece will fit everyone. Fit testing will help ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer.

RPE fit testing should be conducted by a competent person – you should take steps to ensure that any person you engage as a fit tester is appropriately trained, qualified and experienced, and is provided with appropriate information to undertake each particular task. The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has introduced a scheme forfit testers Fit2Fit, which may provide evidence to help you decide whether a fit tester is competent.

More information can be found on the HSE website. 

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