Respirator Fit Testing

If your workplace has airborne hazards, you must provide your workers and visitors with respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Respirators need to be tested to ensure they fit correctly in order to provide maximum protection.

Fit Testing is also known as:

  • Quantitative fit testing
  • Qualitative testing
  • Face fit testing
  • Respirator fit testing
  • RPE fit testing

Fit Testing ensures that the respiratory protective equipment or respirator that a worker is using has a facepiece (mask) that is the right size AND the person knows how to use it properly.

There are two basic types of fit tests: (1) qualitative (QLFT) and (2) quantitative (QNFT). Testing is completed for all half face, full face and disposable masks.


New Zealand Quantitative Fit Testing

We use PortaCount Pro+ Respirator Fit Testing equipment to test workers while wearing their respirators (RPEs) to ensure a safe fit.

PortaCount Respirator Fit Testing offers:

  • Faster fit testing, real-time feedback
  • Enhanced training with real-time fit factor
  • Objective fit testing, eliminating the guess work

Each person tested receives a report informing of type, model and size of respirator tested, a Fit test factor signed by a competent fit test operator, as well as a printed certificate duplicating these details.

This report is valid for one year. All wearers of respirators must be tested annually or sooner if they have gained an amount of weight or lost an amount of weight.

Also, if the facial features have changed by way of dental surgery, facial injuries, and skin changes around the face-seal area testing must be repeated.


What does Respirator Fit Testing involve?

Workers arrive at our clinic for an appointment, along with their mask/facepiece. Demonstration masks are also provided.  While wearing the mask, we ask them to carry out a number of steps while connected to our PortaCount equipment. The equipment compares the outside environment against what they are breathing in. This will record a pass or fail against the mask.

Passing a quantitative test proves that the mask/facepiece is sized correctly and the person knows how to put it on properly.


Why is Respirator Fit Testing important?

Everyone needs to know that the mask they are using is working correctly to protect from any hazards or respiratory irritants getting into their lungs.

Fit testing is a requirement of the standard AS/NZS 1715:2009 Australian/New Zealand Standard Selection (use and maintenance of respiratory protective devices).

Everyone’s face is different, so it’s important to find a mask that fits each person safely.  Each worker might need a different type or size of mask.  Some people need to try several models of facepiece/mask to get a good fit – and they might need training in how to use it, so it fits best.


WorkSafe NZ Fit Testing Information

Fit testing is part of your duty to manage work-related health risks for your workers.  If there are any potentially hazardous fumes, dusts, vapour, gases or mists in your workplace, then people can breathe them in and become unwell.

The proper fitting of respiratory protective equipment requires “the use of some type of fit test to determine an adequate match between the face piece and the respiratory protective equipment and the face of the wearer”.

For workers: read WorkSafe’s Respiratory Protective Equipment Fact Sheet for more information.

For businesses: read WorkSafe’s Respiratory Protective Equipment Advice for Businesses for more information.


OH Direct

21 Northgate
New Plymouth

021 197 5367

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