What is Respirator Fit Testing? | Your Safety Department

Respiratory protection is one of the top 10 most cited OSHA violations.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration - also called "OSHA" - and State OSHA Agencies require employers to fit test workers who must wear respirators on the job. Employers must also provide employees with worksite-specific training.

A respirator can't protect you if it doesn't fit your face. It's that simple. Certain respirators, known as tight-fitting respirators, must form a tight seal with your face or neck to work properly. If your respirator doesn't fit your face properly, contaminated air can leak into your respirator facepiece, and you could breathe in hazardous substances. Before you wear a tight-fitting respirator at work, employers must be sure that your respirator fits you. Employers do this by performing a fit test on you while you wear the same make, model, and size of respirator that you will be using on the job. That way, you know that your respirator fits you properly and can protect you, as long as you use it correctly.

In addition, before you use a respirator or are fit-tested, Employers must ensure that you are medically able to wear it.

NOTE: Your Safety Department LLC can help employers meet this requirement by using an Online MEQ (Medical Evaluation Questionairre).

So what is a fit test? A “fit test” tests the seal between the respirator's facepiece and your face. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and is performed at least annually. After passing a fit test with a respirator, you must use the exact same make, model, style, and size respirator on the job.