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Respirator Fit Testing


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.

To protect you, your respirator must fit properly and form a good seal on your face. A fit test is done to check that contaminated air cannot leak into your respirator and be inhaled. To ensure a good fit, nothing, including eyeglass frames, head coverings or beards, sideburns, or stubble must come between your respirator and your skin where your respirator seals with your face.

When must you do a fit test?

  • Before you use your respirator the first time
  • Every 2 years
  • If you experience physical changes, such as weight gain or loss or broken facial bones, that could affect the respirator’s fit

Both qualitative (QLFT) and quantitative (QNFT) respirator fit testing protocols are CSA approved, however given the stakes and superior results, we highly recommend QNFT.

Quantitative Fit Testing (QNFT)

Quantitative respiratory fit testing uses an instrument to measure the effect of the respirator seal; at WorkSmart we use the TSI PortaCount®, to measure the actual fit of the respirator and it is suitable for use on all air purifying, air supplying and N, R and P series filtering face piece respirators. This method does not rely on your sense of taste, smell, or irritation in order to detect the leakage. Instead, the PortaCount® respirator fit testing equipment measures real-time fit while the user simultaneously performs a series of moving, breathing and talking exercises designed to simulate the same movements made in the field.

Our respiratory fit test technicians will also address the proper donning and doffing of the respirator, how to perform seal checks, the care, use and maintenance of the respirator, the defining differences between N, R, and P-Series respirators, as well as half and full face piece respirators.

Every participant who successfully completes the fit test is provided with a wallet card indicating the respirator they were fitted with and its size. Their employer will receive a record of training in the form of a fit test report that they can use for record keeping purposes.

Qualitative Fit Testing (QFLT)

Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant chemical to detect leakage into the respirator face piece. Qualitative fit testing does not measure the actual fit of the respirator. Whether the respirator passes or fails the test is based simply on subjective detection of the challenge agent into your face piece. There are four qualitative fit test methods accepted by CSA Z94.4:

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

Regulations and Related Materials

  • Under the Ontario Health & Safety Act, section 25 (1)(a) states that protective devices are provided. Section 25(1)(d) says that employers must ensure that protective devices provided are used as prescribed. Section 25(2)(a) describes the duty to provide workers with instruction to protect the safety of the worker.
  • CSA Z94.4-02 Selection, Use, and Care of Respirators

Timing and Expiration

Testing duration:            Approximately 15 minutes per devise

Expiry:                              2 years or there is a change in one’s physical condition such as obvious weight gain/loss or if there is a change in facial features

Cost:                                  Contact our office for details