Face Fit Testing
Bill Rogerson Safety Services Ltd
As required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, businesses and organisations have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their employees, visitors, and contractors on their premises at all times.
Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face.
To ensure that respiratory protective equipment (RPE) will protect the wearer a face fit test should be carried out before people wear Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) for the first time.
A fit test should be repeated whenever there is a change to the RPE type, size, model, or material, or whenever there is a change to the circumstances of the wearer that could alter the fit of the RPE, for example:
- weight loss or gain
- substantial dental work
- any facial changes (scars, moles, effects of ageing etc) around the face seal area
- facial piercings
- introduction or change in other head-worn personal protective equipment (PPE)
There is no stipulated frequency for retesting, and you don’t need to retest if there are no changes in any of these circumstances.
Even though contractors that businesses and organisations work with are not their employees, they cannot pass all liability for health and safety of the work to the contractor alone. In any client – contractor relationship, both the client and the contractor have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of the person carrying out the work.
Client’s place a great importance on health and safety and often require contractors to provide evidence that their employees have been Face Fit Tested if having to wear RPE.