Face Fit Testing


Face fit testing is the process of having a special protective mask fitted to a person’s face to ensure that one has adequate protection from external contaminants that are harmful to the body. It is essential that the mask is fitted according to a specific persons facial features to avoid air leaks.  One of the major cause of leaks is a poor face fit or use of tight-fitting face pieces.

The 2 major testing methods employed are:

  • Qualitative Face Fit – Qualitative face fit testing is a pass/fail method that uses taste, smell or reaction to an irritant in order to detect leaks.
  • Quantitative Face Fit – Quantitative face fit testing uses a machine to measure the amount of leakage into the face piece and does not rely on the user’s sense of smell or taste.

If an employee wears more than one type of tight-fitting face piece, then each type of face piece should be fit tested.

The best time to do fit testing is at the initial selection stage, when individual users can be given a choice of adequate models of RPE. You should ensure that the make, model, type and size of face piece that they wore when they had their successful fit test is made available for their use.

Advantages of qualitative fit testing:

  • Low equipment cost involved
  • Dependent on Simple pass/fail results

Disadvantages of qualitative fit testing:

  • Chance of employee deception or bluffing
  • Limited protection-factor verification (maximum fit factor of 20)

Advantages of quantitative fit testing:

  • No protection-factor limit
  • Documentation of numerical results
  • No chance of employee deception or bluffing

Disadvantages of quantitative fit testing:

  • Expensive up-front equipment costs
  • Requires probed face piece or probe adapter
  • Annual recalibration of equipment is suggested

Facial hair is a big failure of RPE’s. The HSE will not allow Face Fit Testing to be conducted unless RPE wearers are clean shaven. In case of any religious reasons for having a beard, we can recommend (and provide, if required) alternative forms of RPE which don’t rely on a tight-fitting seal to the face.

To reserve your places please call us on 01642 680497 or email your requirements to our team at: TrainingAdmin@tersusgroup.co.uk