RESPIRATOR FIT EXAM
Stay compliant with periodic OSHA-mandated employee Respirator Fit Exams. OSHA Guidelines require employers to provide employee medical evaluations to determine his/her ability to use a respirator. This evaluation is mandatory before the employee utilizes a respirator in the workplace when performing job duties.
Choose from the OSHA required Respirator Questionnaire, Respirator Fit Test, and/or the Pulmonary Function Test to identify medical conditions that could place an employee at risk while on the job. Axiom Medical offers three respirator and pulmonary function exams based on the needs of the employer and employees. We will be your one-stop solution for the employee’s total worker health journey.
Workplace Respirator Fit Exam:
Per OSHA requirements, each employee must be appropriately screened and evaluated, prior to wearing a respirator. Recognizing the physiological implications associated with respirator utilization, along with consideration of workplace conditions, job demands, and medical status, Axiom Medical will work closely with both the employee and employer to develop safe procedures for use.
Axiom Medical Featured Services:
Axiom Medical’s licensed healthcare professionals will conduct an initial medical evaluation necessary to determine the employees’ ability to use a respirator, which can vary depending on the type of respirator worn, physical demand of the job, workplace conditions, and employees’ medical status. If the employee requires a follow-up examination, we ensure it is carried out according to OSHA guidelines.
Axiom Medical Respirator Fit Test Exam key benefits include:
- Verification of the employee’s ability to safely wear a respirator
- Ensures compliance with governmental regulation
OSHA Accepted Test Protocols:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates an annual respirator fit test for employees required to wear a face-piece for their respective job duties. This is to confirm any respirator’s fit that forms a tight seal on the wearer’s face to avoid any exposure to hazardous gas or materials. This ensures that your employees will receive the expected level of protection by minimizing any contaminant leakage into the face-piece.
The qualitative Respirator Fit Exam/Test is conducted based on these three OSHA-accepted protocols.
Here are the three OSHA-accepted test protocols.
- Generated aerosol when using a non-hazardous aerosol in a test chamber
- Condensation Nuclei Counter when using ambient aerosol without a test chamber
- Controlled negative pressure when creating a vacuum that temporarily cuts off air
A quantitative fit test (QNDT) is used to test the respirator’s correct fit and see if the facepiece is tight-fitting. This is to ensure that the facepiece seals appropriately to protect the user.
The quantitative Respirator Fit Exam requires the wearer to perform the same seven exercises as the qualitative test and an additional grimace test. During this test, the worker smiles or frowns for 15 seconds so that the tester can check the respirators’ exact fit.
As the name suggests, the leakage measurement determines the fit factor of the facepiece and if it is safe to use. The test also involves a machine to measure leakage around the face seal to calculate the fit factor. For all half-mask respirators, the fit factor should be at least 100, while a fit factor for full-piece negative-pressure respirators requires at least 500 in the leakage measurement test.
What Does a Respirator Fit Test Consist of?
Axiom Medical’s respirator fit test will start with a detailed medical evaluation by our in-house medical professionals, which involves reviewing the completed questionnaire and providing appropriate recommendations to the employee and employer. The fit test administrator conducts both qualitative and quantitative tests to measure the “fit factor.”
Here are the set of seven exercises conducted during a respirator fit test.
- Normal breathing
- Deep breathing
- Moving head side to side
- Moving head up and down
- Bending over
- Normal breathing again
The medical evaluation will determine these three things:
- Whether the employee is medically safe to wear the respirator without any issues
- Whether the employee has a medical condition, which requires any follow-up
- If the employee is cleared to wear a respirator, they will undergo one or both two fit tests: a qualitative fit test or a quantitative fit test.
How to Prepare for a Respirator Fit Test?
Before taking their respirator fit test, there are a few items they need to prepare.
Selecting a respirator:
Before going for a Respirator Fit Test, employees must select a NIOSH-certified respirator based on the job requirements, responsibilities, time spent exposed, and more. The employee will need to come with their selected respirator to their fit test.
Bring protective equipment:
If the employee wears any other personal protective equipment (PPE) that could interfere with the respirator’s seal, they must bring those items to the fit test. This can include safety glasses, hearing protection, face shields, hard hats, and coveralls.
All male employees will need to shave for their respirator fit test. This is an OSHA requirement because facial hair can interfere with a respirator’s fit.
Complete a medical evaluation questionnaire:
OSHA requires all employees to undergo a medical evaluation before taking a Respirator Fit test. The OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire will then be reviewed by a physician or other licensed health care provider (PLHCP) before the employee is sent for a qualitative fit test.
Who needs a respirator fit test and how often should they be refitted?
Suppose your employees work in a place where exposure to hazardous environments, harmful dusts, fumes, and gases are quite common. In that case, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires them to wear respirators. Before wearing a respirator, your employee must undergo the respirator fit test to see if the facepiece fits perfectly and protects the wearer against toxic atmospheres. The test also ensures that the wearer can breathe with reduced exposure to respirable toxins while on a respirator. The Respirator Fit test is an annual exam.
They Said It!
I believe with confidence that we are reaching all of our expected goals by bringing Axiom on as an outsourced case management solution.
Axiom has helped us closely monitor the injured employee’s progress through the medical treatment process. Early treatment has kept our employees at work when in the past they would have likely taken time off or been placed off by a physician.
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