Is Face Fit Testing a legal requirement?

The simple answer is yes, FaceFit Testing is a legal duty under;

  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.
  • The Control of Lead at Work Regulations.
  • The Control of Asbestos Regulations.

These Regulations apply to disposable and reusable half masks, powered respirators and full-face masks.

When should the test be carried out?

Initially, Face Fit Testing is required for any new worker using RPE.
Re-testing should be carried out if the shape of the face has changed since the initial test.
When a new type of mask is introduced.
Re-testing should be carried out between 1-3 years.

Why do you need Face Fit Testing?

  • Where RPE is worn by workers it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure they are adequately protected against harmful dust and chemicals.
  • If the RPE is inadequate and your work exposes you to dust on a regular basis you may be at risk of developing (COPD) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Long term illnesses including occupational asthma, silicosis and lung cancer.
  • As individuals we are not all the same, we come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, one type of face mask does not necessarily suit all. Face shape, broken nose, weight gain or loss or simply a mole on the face can affect the fit and seal of your facemask.  If you have received a facial injury where the seal fits the face since the initial test you may not be adequately protected and a retest will be required.
  • It is a legal obligation. Anybody that wears a tight fitted face mask is required by law to undergo Face Fit Testing.  A certificate will be produced and issued to each individual to prove they have adequate protection.

What types of Face Fit Testing is required?

  • Qualitative Face Fit Testing applies to disposable and reusable half masks. A low-cost effective pass/fail test is carried out where the user is exposed to a chemical stimulant (Bittrex) whilst wearing a hood, this is only detected if the mask fails and the seal is broken.
  • Quantitative Face Testing applies to full-face masks. This is carried out using a test machine that counts particulate in the test room.

Here at Safety Forward Ltd we are able to assist with your Qualitative Face Fit Testing carried out by our fully trained, competent and experienced Face Fit Testers.  Testing is carried out at your location and can be carried out for a number of employees.  For further information please contact us on 0330 107 0165 or visit our website here.