After years of making sure people are wearing correctly fitted RPE, there are certainly some things that crop up time and time again.
The main one being whether or not a person should be clean shaven when wearing or being tested on RPE.
A fit test should not be conducted if you have any facial hair growth in the area where the facepiece seal meets your face. This is because a reliable face seal can only be achieved if you are clean-shaven in the area where the facepiece seal touches your face. You will therefore be asked to be suitably clean-shaven for the fit test. You should remember that the same rule applies when you wear your facepiece on a day to day basis at work. If you are unable to be suitably clean-shaven for an unavoidable reason (e.g. where a beard is worn for religious reasons), then your employer should provide you with a suitable loose fitting facepiece that does not require you to be cleanshaven, or make alternative arrangements so that the risk to your health is either prevented or adequately controlled. Care should be taken to ensure that any facial hair within the facepiece does not interfere with the proper functioning of the facepiece components such as exhalations valves.
It is sad to hear that people have had to shave off their beard which they have been growing for 3 years, but surely it is better than breathing in whatever it is your RPE is supposed to be protecting you from.
Eating, drinking or smoking prior to a test.
When testing qualitatively this can affect the person's ability to be able to test the bitter or sweet tasting solution when checking for their sensitivity to it.
Quantitatively it can result in more particles looking like they are passing through the seal of the mask therefore giving a false result.
We really aren't trying to be awkward, we are just trying to make sure your health is protected to the best standard possible.
Donning RPE correctly
With every test we conduct, as part of the testing we will help and assist you with donning the RPE to get the best protection possible. Whilst we want you to be comfortable whilst working, the RPE you wear is there to do a job.
Storage and Maintenance of RPE
Looking after your RPE needn't be a chore. Most half face and Full face masks come with an air-tight bag to store them in. It may also be worth purchasing a piece of Tupperware from your local pound shop, particularly if your RPE is kept in the back of a Van or your boot and is prone to getting a bit bashed about.
whilst it is recommended to keep them clean using a damp cloth, a cheap packet of babywipes will also help to keep them clean and will make for more comfortable wearing whilst performing your duties. Plus these can be kept with your mask to make things a little easier.
As well as offering Face Fit Testing we can also offer short courses to help with your RPE training, which includes all the above.
We are BSIF fit2fit accredited for both quantitative and qualitative face fit testing and cover the whole of the UK.
Feel free to get in touch with any questions or for a free no obligation quote.