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Respirator Mask Fit Testing Specialist

Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley

Occupational Medicine located in Santa Maria, CA

If you work a job that requires the use of a tight-fitting respirator, you must undergo respirator mask fit testing every two years. During a quick, in-office appointment the team at Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley can ensure your respirator mask fits properly, allowing you to perform job duties without fear of illness or injury. To schedule an appointment at the Santa Maria, California, practice, call the office, or book a consultation online today.

Respirator Mask Fit Training Q&A

What is respirator mask fit testing?

Respirator mask fit testing is an in-office screening procedure used to test the seal between a respirator mask and your face. If your respirator mask doesn’t fit properly, you risk exposing your lungs and respiratory system to harmful substances, such as pathogens, dust, mold, or other microscopic toxins.

The United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires employers to fit mask test employees at least once every two years. Each test takes less than half an hour and plays an important role in employee safety.

What are the types of respirator fit mask testing?

The team at Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley offers several types of respirator fit mask testing, including:

Quantitative respirator fit mask testing

Quantitative respirator fit mask testing uses a special tool called a Portamount machine to measure the amount of leakage into a respirator face mask. 

Qualitative respirator fit mask testing

Qualitative respirator fit mask testing uses a pass/fail exam. It measures several factors, including your sense of taste, sense of smell, and your reaction to particular irritants to detect leakage in your respirator mask. Unlike quantitative testing, qualitative testing doesn’t measure the specific amount of leakage.

Medical evaluations

Using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees. As the employer, you must provide all employees using a respirator with a medical evaluation and you must protect the confidentiality of the employee who is being evaluated. Medical evaluations must be performed before fit testing a respirator on an employee or when an employee wears a respirator in the workplace for the first time. 

You must follow several requirements when setting up a medical evaluation for your employees. For example, you must:

  • Identify a physician or PLHCP (Physician or Licensed Health Care Professional) to perform medical evaluations. 
  • Ensure that a medical questionnaire or an initial medical examination that obtains the same information as the medical questionnaire is used. (The information required is discussed in T8CCR, Section 5144, Appendix C, OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire [Mandatory].) 
  • Ensure that the medical questionnaire and examinations are administered confidentially during the employee’s normal working hours or at a time and a place convenient to the employee. 
  • Provide the employee with an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire and examination results with the PLHCP.

To ensure that employees’ medical evaluations remain confidential, you must provide your employees with instructions on delivering or sending the completed questionnaire directly to the PLHCP who will review it. For example, you may supply employees with stamped, pre-addressed envelopes for mailing or access to a HIPAA compliant web-site where they can upload completed questionnaires to the PLHCP. 

How do I prepare for respirator fit mask testing?

On the day of your respirator fit mask test, it’s important to avoid eating, smoking, or drinking anything for at least 20 minutes prior to your appointment. If you have a beard, mustache, or other facial hair, you’ll also need to shave. This is because, with facial hair, a respirator mask can’t fit snugly against your skin.

What happens during a respirator fit mask testing appointment?

The team at Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley conducts respirator fit mask testing in-office. When you arrive, you fill out a medical consent form and answer your provider’s questions in regards to your work and physical health.

After gathering this information, you undergo both a qualitative test and a quantitative test. Each test takes less than 30 minutes, so you’re able to leave the office in under an hour. Before you do, your provider signs off on a form that you can give to your employer.

If it’s time to schedule your biennial respirator fit mask testing appointment, contact the team at Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley. Book a consultation online, or call the office to speak with a team member.

NOTE: Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley does not have or supply respirator masks.