Are your employees working on job sites or potentially hazardous environments where they may be breathing in dust, gases and other fumes? If they are, it is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines that each employee wears a respirator. A respirator mask will protect the employee from breathing in unhealthy toxins by filtering out particles, greatly reducing exposure. Prior to beginning work, all employees will need to undergo a fit test to make sure masks fit properly and provide enough protection.
In addition, the State of Connecticut recently announced a requirement that dental workers that are in close patient proximity, must wear an N95 mask, and have it fit tested for proper protection.
Prior to the Fit Test
Before coming in for a fit test, employees need to be prepared with a few items. They will need to have selected a respiratory mask or have one provided to them by the business. The mask must be NIOSH certified and be proven to protect against the possible toxins the employee may be exposed to while at work. Along with the mask, the employee also needs to bring any other protective equipment worn on job sites including goggles, hearing protection, face shields, protective headwear and coveralls to ensure that none of the additional equipment interferes with the mask. Employees must be clean-shaven in order to remove potential interference with the fit of the mask.
What is Determined During a Respirator Fit Test?
There are three key factors determined during a respirator fit test:
- Does the employee have medical limitations or will they be able to wear the respirator for the duration of their shift
- If follow-up appointments are needed for evaluation
- Based on these answers, a statement will be provided to the employee with recommendations based on the fit test
AFC Urgent Care Norwalk performs the qualitative fit test (QLFT), a pass/fail exam that evaluates the employee’s senses while wearing protective equipment. Testing agents are determined by the employee and the filter on the mask. Exercises are performed for one minute each to determine if the mask is secure, based on whether or not the wearer can smell odor or detect irritation, including:
- Regular breathing
- Deep breathing
- Range of motion in the head, including up and down and side to side
- Bending over while wearing the mask
- Speaking while wearing the mask
- Normal breathing after performing activity in the mask
Mask Fit Test in Norwalk, CT
If your profession requires you to wear a mask for protection on the job, visit AFC Urgent Care Norwalk for a respirator fit test. Our center is open seven days a week and we work with businesses across the area to make sure their needs are met. For questions about occupational health, please call 203-845-9100.