Face Fit Testing For RPE
Qualitative face fit testing
Qualitative testing is for disposable / reusable half masks, and can take up to 20 minutes to complete.
The test is carried out in two stages:
- Sensitivity test: this confirms that the wearer can detect the test agent (either smell or taste). The test agent is sprayed into a test hood (worn over the head and shoulders) so that the wearer’s sensitivity can be established.
- The fit test requires the wearer to put on their face mask and the test hood. The tester sprays the agent into the hood at intervals, whilst the wearer is carrying out a series of exercises designed to simulate movement expected in the workplace. For example, moving their head side to side, or up and down. If the wearer can taste or smell the test agent at any time this indicates a fail – the mask does not fit.
Quantitative face fit testing
Quantitative testing is for all masks, and can take up to 40 minutes to complete.
“There are several methods of quantitative testing.
The most commonly used method is ‘particle counting’ using a machine called a TSI Portacount. Particle counting counts the number of microscopic dust particles in the ambient air and compares this to the number of dust particles inside the mask.
- This is not affected by a person’s sense of taste or smell and is not subjective.
- During the test the wearer is carrying out a series of exercises designed to simulate movement expected in the workplace. For example, moving their head side to side, or up and down. If the machine detects particles leaking into the mask, then this indicates that the test is a fail.