LEGAL REQUIREMENTS: Under the Ontario Health & Safety Act, section 25 (1) (a) states that protective devices are provided. Section 25(1) (d) says that employers must ensure that protective devices provided are used as prescribed. Section 25(2) (a) describes the duty to provide workers with instruction to protect the safety of the worker.
The CSA Standard Z94.4-11 defines the respirator fit testing requirements.
What kind of fit testing do you need?
There are two acceptable methods for Respirator Fit Testing according to the CSA Z94. 4-11. Both a Qualitative and Quantitative method require a trained professional to conduct an in person assessment and training on the selection, care and use of designated respirators. All respirators that rely on a mask-to-face seal need to be checked with either a Qualitative or Quantitative method to determine whether the mask provides an acceptable fit to the wearer. This includes all types of air purifying, air-supplied, positive pressure, powered air-purifying respirators, and SCBA. In Canada, each province maintains its own Occupational Health and Safety guidelines and policies. In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act suggests Respirator Fit Testing to be conducted every 2 years.
IST offers both Qualitative and Quantitative testing.
Qualitative Testing: This method of fit testing relies on a subjective sensation (taste, irritation, smell) of the respirator wearer to a particular test agent. This type of testing is appropriate for workers that utilize disposable and air purifying respirators where there is no immediate threat to life. Along with the classroom theory based training, this method of fit testing provides a flexible, accurate and affordable fit testing experience. Testing takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes per participant. The theory portion provides an enduring influence on workers that emphasizes the importance of correct technique and respirator use.
Qualitative Fit Testing– the following will be discussed during the theory part of the program:
- Types of respirators
- Identification of Respirator Cartridges and Gas Mask Canisters
- Supplied-Air Respirators
- Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
- Requirements for Fit Testing and how they will be done
- Issuance of Respirators
- Self-testing Procedures
- Negative Pressure Seal Check & Positive Pressure Seal Check
- Application and use of Respirators including Respirator selection guide
- During the fit testing phase we will cover the proper donning and doffing of the respirator, performing seal checks, care, use and maintenance of the respirator
Quantitative Fit Testing: This method of testing utilizes a measuring instrument called a porta count machine to measure face-seal leakage. This format of testing is appropriate for those required to wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or other supplied air breathing apparatus, where the scenario indicates there may be an immediate threat to life. Each test takes approximately 15 minutes and is conducted one participant at a time.