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N95 Fit Testing in Las Vegas

What is N95 Fit Testing?

It is essential that healthcare workers who are exposed to patients who have contracted or are at risk of contracting COVID-19 use personal protective equipment (PPE). Respirators that suit your face correctly, including N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators and elastomeric respirators, reduce the transmission of germs. Your N95 mask must undergo N95 fit testing before you use it for the first time and then once yearly.

Employees who use tight-fitting N95 respirators must undergo fit testing. This technique ensures that the user has chosen the proper size respirator and that a seal against the face can be formed to offer the anticipated protection. Fit testing should be carried out:

  • When a different model, size, style, or manufacture of respirator is utilized.
  • Any face changes might influence fits, such as severe weight changes or dental work.

Why Do You Need To Be N95 Fit Tested?

Fit testing ensures that you wear the correct respirator to protect yourself from germs and avoid transferring germs to others. Your healthcare institution is required to equip you with suitable PPE, including a properly fitting respirator. Respirator sizes differ across models and brands.

OSHA Fit Testing Requirements

If your profession necessitates using a respirator, such as an N95 FFR, the OSHA requires your healthcare institution to adhere to the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Respirator fit testing is only one component of a hospital’s Respiratory Protection Program.

OSHA requires tight-fitting respirators to undergo respirator fit testing. Respirators that do not rely on tight seals around the face are not required to be tested. Tight-fitting respirators, like N95 masks, need either qualitative or quantitative fit testing.

 

What is Qualitative N95 Fit Testing (QLFT)?

Only the QLFT can be used to fit-test:

  • A negative-pressure respirator that purifies the air provided that they are only to be used in atmospheres with hazards below 10 times the permissible exposure limit (PEL).
  • Facepieces are designed for use with powered respirators or those that supply an atmosphere.

QLFT is a pass/fail test that depends on the user’s senses and employs one of four of the following test agents:

  • Isoamyl acetate (banana smell)
  • Saccharin (sweet taste)
  • Bitrex (bitter taste)
  • Irritant smoke (involuntary cough reflex)

 

What is Quantitative N95 Fit Testing (QNFT)?

Any tight-fitting respirator may be fit-tested using a quantitative fit test (QNFT). It entails employing equipment to evaluate leaks around the face seal, which yields a numerical value known as a “fit factor.” OSHA fit test protocols for QNFT tests:

  • Generated aerosol
  • Condensation nuclei counter (CNC)
  • Controlled negative pressure (CNP)

 

Why is N95 Fit Testing Important?

Respirator fit is critical since it affects numerous significant issues:

Seal

A proper fit implies that the respirator will fit nicely against your skin. Only when air goes through the filter can a respiratory function. Because the air will travel the route of least resistance, if the seal is missing, the air will move around rather than through the respirator, reducing the protection.

Compatibility

There is often competition between a respirator and safety glasses, hearing protection, face shields, hard hats, or coveralls on a person’s face, head, or body. To detect these issues before they occur on the job, OSHA mandates that any PPE that potentially interferes with the respirator’s seal be worn during the fit test.

Stability

The more tightly a respirator fits, the greater stability it will have on the wearer’s face. Fit testing measures the capacity of the respirator to maintain its seal when the worker is moving. Examinees are instructed to do a series of activities as part of the testing process. A respirator that moves while moving may be unable to maintain its seal.

 

N95 Mask Fit Testing Procedure

The fit testing procedure consists of four steps:

  1. Selecting a respirator
  2. Fit checking
  3. Taste threshold evaluation
  4. Fit testing

 

Selecting a Respirator

Each user should be allowed to choose a respirator that fits their face comfortably. This implies that a variety of respirators must be available. At the very least, numerous sizes of one kind of respirator must be provided, but two or three distinct brands of respirators in several sizes are preferred.

Before judging if the respirator is comfortable, the employee should be taught how to put it on and adjust the straps properly. This includes placing the respirator on the chin and nose bridge. Users who use glasses should put them on to see if the respirator conflicts with their eyeglasses’ location.

After selecting a comfortable respirator, the individual should be instructed to do positive and negative fit checks.

 

Fit Checking

This ensures that the respirator is sealed against the user’s face. In order to ensure that the respirator is working properly, you should do this every time you use it.

Positive pressure and negative pressure are the two forms of fit checks. The term “positive pressure” refers to the user exhaling and exerting positive pressure on the respirator. The term “negative pressure” refers to the user breathing in and putting harmful pressure on the respirator.

The user must appropriately put on the respirator to execute the fit test. First, the whole surface of the respirator must be thoroughly covered. This is because the entire surface works as a filter. Although some users can cover the surface using their hands, the simplest method is to cover the respirator with a plastic sheet, including household plastic film. It is easy to do in this manner.

Before the respirator may be used or fit tested, users must do both the positive and negative pressure fit checks.

Positive pressure fit check

After covering the surface of the respirator, the user should slowly breathe out and check to see whether air is leaving around the face instead of passing through the respirator. If you feel air flowing around the facepiece, adjust the respirator and re-fit it. The positive fit check is successful if the user does not feel the air leaving around the facepiece.

Negative pressure fit check

The respirator should be covered once again before performing the negative fit test. The user should breathe slowly. This should generate a vacuum, drawing the respirator closer to the face. If the respirator is not brought in toward the face, it should be discarded and inspected for flaws, such as a tiny hole or a deformed sealing edge. If none are identified, the respirator should be relocated, and negative pressure fit testing should be repeated. The user successfully passes the negative pressure fit check if the respirator pulls in toward the face as the user covers the surface and inhales.

 

Taste Threshold Evaluation

This is possible when the user has completed positive and negative fit checks. Fit testing kits are available from various suppliers and include all the supplies needed to conduct taste threshold screening and fit testing. A dilute solution of the testing material is employed to assess if the user can detect the chemical that will be used for fit testing. To fit test N-95 respirators, two chemicals can be used:

  • Saccharine or sweet taste
  • Bitrex or bitter taste

Saccharine and Bitrex both need the use of a nebulizer that is included in the N95 fit testing kit. Fit testing kits also come with two bottles of solution and a hood and collar. The sensitivity test solution is in one bottle, while the fit test solution is in the other.

 

The Fit Test Steps for N95 Fit Testing

After a good taste threshold evaluation, fit testing can be done. For at least 15 minutes, the user should not have eaten, chewed gum, or had anything other than water to drink.

  1. Users should put on the respirator and examine the positive and negative fit.
  2. Prior to the fit test, the user should wear the respirator for at least five minutes.
  3. Users should put the collar and hood on.
  4. Users should place the hood forward on the shoulders, leaving about six inches of space between their face and the hood window.
  5. As in the sensitivity assessment, users should breathe with their mouths open and tongues extended while wearing the respirator.
  6. The nebulizer with the fit testing solution must be inserted into the hood window hole. The bulb must be completely squeezed the number of times required in the taste threshold evaluation, either 10, 20, or 30 times.
  7. Half of the initial number of squeezes (5, 10, or 15) must be done every 30 seconds.
  8. Users should complete the following activities for at least 30 seconds each while the examiner squeezes the right amount every thirty seconds:
    1. Breathing normally
    2. Deep inhalation
    3. Inhaling from both sides while turning the head from side to side
    4. Head nodding up and down, breathing in both places
    5. Inhaling when the head is down and bending forward to touch toes
    6. Talking
    7. Finally, resuming regular breathing.
  9. When the user reports tasting the fit test aerosol, the fit test should be stopped.
  10. The fit test is considered successful if the individual does not taste the fit test aerosol during the duration of the test.

 

How Long is a Respirator Fit Test Good for?

The fit test is valid for one year for the particular individual and respirator brand and model evaluated.

 

Do I Have to Shave for a Respirator N95 Fit Test?

Users must shave their faces clean to be fit-tested and adequately use an N95 or other tight-fitting respirator. Facial hair is only permitted when respiratory protection is required, provided it does not breach the sealing surface of the tight-fitting respirator, according to Cal/OSHA standards.

 

How Much Does N95 Fit Testing Cost?

Different companies charge various amounts for N95 fit testing. This number ranges from 30$ to 100$. To know more about our prices, please contact us at 800-674-9515.

 

N95 Fit Testing Locations in Las Vegas

Exercises are performed during a respirator fit test to stress the seal between the respirator and the face. Respirator fit testing must be done before using a mask on the job. In the absence of any significant changes to the user’s face, the fit test is valid for one year.

ProAm has begun performing DOT physical exams in Las Vegas. As a result, companies can evaluate their drivers efficiently and professionally at our highly equipped facility to improve their productivity.

Please contact us at 800-674-9515 with any questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also make an online appointment.