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This program covers the requirements under NIOSH Standards for quantitative and qualitative fit testing procedures. Meet requirements for training employees in proper fit testing procedures.Excerpt:
There are new rules for fit testing of respirators. Thisshort program explains the new rules and procedures for proper fit testingrespiratory equipment. These new standards have established new filteringefficiency and performance criteria for all non-powered, air-purifying,particulate-filter respirators.
The purpose of fit-testing is to make sure therespirator you use will not leak under normal use and working conditions.Almost any respirator you use will appear to fit, but individuals wearing arespirator may not always be able to detect a leak. Therefore a good fittesting program is necessary. The new standard allows respirator users tocontinue using and purchasing air-purifying and particulate-filter respiratorscertified under the old standards. Before an employee may be required to useany respirator with a negative or positive pressure tight fitting face piecethe employee must be fitted with the same make, model, style, and size ofrespirator that will be used. The employer shall ensure employees using a tightfitting face piece respirator pass an appropriate qualitative fit test, orquantitative fit test. Fit testing a respirator determines the quality of therespirator to face seal, and is the only way to screen out poorly fitting facepieces. A fit test should not be confused with a fit check or user seal check.The fit check or user seal checks or used only to verify that a respirator isseated properly before a fit test, or before entering a work area with apreviously fitted respirator.
The two basic types of fit test are quantitativeand qualitative. You can remember the difference between the two by rememberingthe word quantitative or quantity. Quantity in that something must be measuredwith an instrument. Quantitative fit testing provides a numerical or scientificmeasurement of the respirator fit. It is the most accurate type of fit testing.Quantitative fit testing is performed by challenging the seal of a probedrespirator equipped with P100 HEPA filters to a challenge aerosol that is easilydetected by the fit test instrument or by measuring the pressure inside theface pieces during a controlled negative pressure fit test. The words challengeaerosol refers to approved materials such as smoke or other aerosols that canbe detected by a human being. A probed respirator is one that has a probeinside the respirator for measuring pressure. The challenge aerosol issomething that is not harmful, but it can be easily detected with sensitiveinstruments. A fit testing instrument will monitor the aerosol concentrate bothinside and outside the face piece during this test, or the instrument willcalculate the pressure differences between the inside and outside to determineif there is any leakage.
Next the instrument will either report these concentrationsor calculate the wearer's fit factor. The fit factor is the ratio of theconcentration outside the face piece divided by the concentration inside theface piece, or a measure of the leakage rate. While this fit factor representsthe actual fit of the respirator in a test environment an assigned protectionfactor or APF is a limit set by an applicable regulatory agency. When theassigned protection factor and the fit factor are compared the fit factor mustexceed the APF by at least 10 times in order for the fit to be adequate. Let'ssay that again, when the assigned protection factor and the fit factor arecompared the fit factor must exceed the APF by at least 10 times in order forthe fit to be adequate. This means you need to know and understand assignedprotection factors or APFs to make sure you have a proper respirator for thepotential hazard. For example, a half mask respirator has an assignedprotection factor of 10. Therefore the wearer must achieve a fit factor tentimes greater than the APF, or 100. This safety factor may be set higher at thediscretion of the respiratory program administrator. A probed respirator is arespirator that has been modified by the manufacturer to provide a samplingport through which internal air can be monitored. This probed respirator canonly be used for fit testing and can never be used for respiratory protection.