Qualitative Mask Fit Testing - ICON SAFETY CONSULTING INC. - ICON SAFETY CONSULTING INC.

Fit Testing:


To ensure that the user is properly fitted to use a particular tight fitting respirator. The qualitative fit testing process will assist the user in determining the proper size of a specific make or model of respirator. This process is required for negative pressure devices. This process follows the CSA Standard Z94.4-02 and is mandatory every 2 years and recommended annually.

Who Should Attend?

- People who are required to wear tight fitting respiratory protection and who work in conditions where they may be exposed to particulate (dust, mist, fume, fiber) contaminants. Some examples of such people include industrial workers, grain workers, pipe mill workers, military personnel, emergency responders, health care professionals, etc.

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- Any person who is required to wear a tight fitting face piece during the course of their normal day to day work duties, or any person who is required to wear a tight fitting face piece for emergency response activities should be fit tested to ensure an effective seal.

In order to properly perform the test, the candidates MUST BE CLEAN SHAVEN, and not eat or drink in the half hour prior to the examination.

Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of smell or taste, or your personal reaction to an irritant chemical. It helps to detect leakage into the respirator face piece. The test is based simply on subjective detection of the challenge agent into your face piece.

Mask-Fit Testing ensures that participants are wearing the proper mask size and type for the shape of their face and head. Qualitative Mask-Fit Testing is a pass/fail method of testing. It determines whether participants can detect an odour while wearing a mask. A bitter or sweet odour is injected into a test booth or a hood and if the participant cannot detect the odour, the test is considered a pass. This type of testing is performed on disposable and half-face masks or full masks with cartridges.

A proper mask fit ensures that particulates are properly filtered and that no leaks occur around the seal.

Mask-Fit Testing is required annually by the majority of regulatory bodies. However, the Canadian Standards Association does allow for it to occur on a bi-annual basis when quantitative testing is completed.

We recommend annual mask-fit testing. Qualitative fit testing does not measure the actual fit of the respirator. It only notes whether the respirator passes or fails. There are four qualitative fit test methods accepted by CSA Z94.4:

  1. Bitrex, which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth; and
  2. Irritant smoke, which can cause coughing
  3. Isoamyl acetate, which smells like bananas;
  4. Saccharin, which leaves a sweet taste in your mouth;
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