Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is available in a range of types which often include a tight-fitting facepiece which must fit the wearer’s face well for the RPE to work effectively. Good fit must be demonstrated by fit testing.
In this study, 25 volunteer test subjects wearing tight-fitting FFP3 (randomly selected from 9 different models) underwent four fit tests (Bitrex qualitative taste test, Portacount particle counting with and without the N95 companion technology and the laboratory chamber method), in random order, according to methodology given in HSE guidance 282/28. The selected FFP3 model worn by each test subject was not adjusted until all four fit tests had been completed.
Results analysed according to the criteria given in the American National Standard for fit test validation, indicate that the Portacount fit test method is more difficult to pass than the other methods. Differences in the methodologies and the potential for bias in the results across the fit test methods are discussed.
The study also shows that a fit-check should never be used as a substitute for a fit test.
Many of the FFP3 were poor at fitting the test subjects.
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