Respirator Fit Testing

IES offers qualitative respirator fit testing for N95, half-mask, full-face and powered air purifying respirators. Our competent respirator fit testing conforms to the requirements set out in CSA Standard Z94.4-11. If your staff are performing any tasks that have the potential to generate significant atmospheric contaminants, respirator fit testing should be considered. If you are unsure if certain tasks are posing an inhalation hazard, IES can provide services that effectively quantify airborne hazards and provide guidance.

Whether your staff are working in locations with elevated nuisance particulate or performing mould remediation, asbestos abatement, lead abatement or other hazardous material operation, we can help. The importance of ensuring an effective seal between the respirator and the worker’s face cannot be understated. It is also critical to ensure proper understanding of the limitations and capabilities of any respirator chosen, along with the chosen filter type.

Our professional, competent fit tests not only ensure the respirator properly fits the face of the trainee, but we also ensure the worker is trained on the use, care, and maintenance of the respirator in use. Our fit testing also provides instruction on the proper donning and doffing, and applicable seal checks to be performed every time the respirator is used.

Legislation mandates that if respirators are used in the workplace, written procedures shall be implemented and reviewed with any staff required to use a respirator. IES can provide direction on how to develop and maintain a compliant Respirator Management Plan. If preferred, we can also prepare a compliant Respirator Management Plan in a format that matches your corporate documentation.

Valid fit testing must be performed every 24 months or whenever any significant change in facial structure occurs (generally large fluctuations in bodyweight). If you would like to know more about respirator fit testing, call IES today.


We have answered a few common questions related to Respirator Fit Testing below:

What is respirator fit testing?

Respirator fit testing is a procedure used to assess the effectiveness of a respirator’s seal on an individual’s face. It ensures that the respirator forms a tight and secure fit, minimizing the leakage of contaminated air and protecting the wearer from harmful airborne particles, gases, or vapors.

Why is respirator fit testing important?

Respirator fit testing is crucial for several reasons. It ensures that the selected respirator model and size adequately fit the individual wearer’s face, maximizing the respirator’s effectiveness. A proper fit is essential to prevent the inhalation of hazardous substances, maintain the health and safety of the wearer, and comply with occupational health and safety regulations.

What are the two types of respirator fit testing methods?

     Quantitative fit testing: This method involves using specialized equipment, such as a particle counting device or a machine that measures respirator leakage, to numerically determine the fit factor. It provides an objective and precise measurement of the respirator fit.

     Qualitative fit testing: This method relies on the wearer’s subjective response to a test agent, typically a bitter or sweet substance, to assess the adequacy of the respirator fit. If the wearer detects the taste or smell of the test agent, it indicates a poor fit.

When is respirator fit testing required?

Respirator fit testing is typically required in workplaces where respiratory protection is necessary to safeguard workers from airborne hazards, such as hazardous chemicals, dust, or biological agents. Industries such as construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and mining often mandate respirator fit testing.

How often should respirator fit testing be conducted?

The frequency of respirator fit testing depends on various factors, including the type of respirator, the workplace environment, and regulatory requirements. Fit testing is typically performed initially when an individual is first assigned a respirator and then repeated at regular intervals, such as biannually or whenever there are significant changes in facial characteristics or respirator model.

Who can conduct respirator fit testing?

Respirator fit testing should be conducted by trained individuals who have knowledge and experience in fit testing procedures. This can include occupational health professionals, safety officers, or individuals specifically certified in fit testing protocols. They should follow recognized fit testing methods and guidelines, ensuring accurate and reliable results.

Can fit testing be performed on different respirator models or sizes?

Yes, fit testing should be conducted for each respirator model and size to be worn by an individual. Different respirators may have variations in design, shape, and sealing mechanisms, which can affect the fit. Fit testing ensures that the selected respirator provides an adequate seal and protection specific to the wearer.

Reach out to IES Consulting today to see how we can help.

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