5.5 million workers are exposed to respiratory hazards in the workplace and research by both BSIF and HSE has highlighted concerns that RPE is not being effectively selected, used and maintained in a significant proportion of workplaces where a respiratory hazard exists, leaving workers at risk.
Fit testing of RPE facepieces
Current CoSHH regulations and associated ACOP require employers of wearers of tight-fitting facepieces to conduct a fit test to assess the degree of face seal leakage of that respirator to the wearer. Tight-fitting facepieces include disposable particulate respirators, half and full-face masks with filters. A fit test should also be conducted on powered and air-fed respirators which include a tight-fitting facepiece. If a full facepiece is being used the HSE recommends a Quantitative fit test be conducted. This is usually carried out by a suitably qualified outside agency or competent person. If any other device is used, e.g. filtering facepieces FFP1/2/3 or half-face mask respirators fitted with particulate or combined filter, a Qualitative test can be conducted, which is normally carried out ‘in-house’. For further information, please read the HSE document ‘Fit Testing of Respiratory Protective Facepieces HSE 282/28’.