N95 Fit Testing: FAQs, Guidelines, & More
Fit testing is extremely important in a variety of industries and for a variety of applications. It confirms the fit of a respirator on a user’s face before it is used in the workplace—and by confirming that there is a tight seal, it ensures that workers are receiving the expected level of protection and safety. So, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about N95 fit testing and OSHA requirements.
What is N95 fit testing?
Per OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.134 Respirator Protection: In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators are required by the employer, the employer shall establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures. The employer shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting facepiece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece—size, style, model, or make—is used, and at least annually thereafter.
How do you perform a respirator fit test?
Quantitative respirator fit testing is performed using either Condensation Nuclei Counter (CNC) measurements using the TSI Portacount or Controlled Negative Pressure (CNP) technology using the OHD Quantifit. Quantitative fit testing for N95 mask can only be performed with at TSI 8038 or 8048 Portacount.
Who needs fit testing?
Any employee using a tight-fitting facepiece respirator is required to be fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece—size, style, model, or make—is used, and at least annually thereafter.
Can anyone perform a respirator fit test?
Fit tests must be performed by a qualified individual, able to follow the protocol and train employees.
Can you reuse an N95 mask?
N95 masks are typically disposable after a fit test or after wearing. Covid-19, however, has reduced the amount of N95 in the supply chain which has necessitated the need to reuse N95 masks multiple times. Seek advice from the employer if procedures are in place for reuse of N95 masks.
How often is N95 fit testing required?
N95 fit testing is required when an employee is instructed that there is a requirement to wear an N95 to perform work. Fit testing is to take place prior to wearing a mask and is to be fit tested to a specific make, model, and size of the mask to be worn. If a change in mask is necessary, fit testing is to be performed again on that specific mask. After the initial fit test, the individual is to be tested yearly to confirm the fit of the mask is still within specification.
How much does it cost to get fit tested for N95 mask?
Cost to be fit tested can vary widely. Renting a fit testing machine would be one of the more economical methods but requires an individual be trained to perform fit tests. Employers must also not forget that a medical evaluation is to be performed prior to an employee wearing a mask. Hiring a consultant to perform the fit testing is also an option but is likely to cost more.
OSHA N95 Fit Testing Requirements
For a complete guide to OSHA fit testing requirements, please see the official OSHA-Accepted Fit Test Protocols.
Get Started with RAECO’s N95 Fit Testing Equipment Today
In order to quantitively fit test an N95 respirator, one would need to use a TSI Portacount 8038 or 8048 fit test machine. When renting a TSI Portacount, RAECO Rents will supply all the accessories necessary to complete the testing to include a particle generator, push probes to probe the N95 mask for testing, and the software necessary to obtain the results. We are also available for any questions that you may have before, during, or after the testing.