Respiratory Fit Testing 

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Quantitative Testing
Qualitative Testing
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Respiratory Fit Testing in BC and AB

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Our Respiratory Fit Testing Services are designed to ensure that the respiratory protective equipment used in your workplace provides optimal protection for your employees. This service is essential for industries such as healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and any setting where airborne particles, contaminants, or chemicals are a concern.

What is Respiratory Fit Testing?

A Respiratory Fit Test is a test to measure the quality of respirator seal between a person's face without facial hair and a respirator or mask (e.g. N95). It is required for many jobs in a wide variety of industries as they have to ensure that their employees are equipped with a tight-fitting respirator that allows for normal breathing. Due to Covid-19 many workplaces that didn't previously need a Fit Testing Protocol, now require one, as they usually mandate respiratory masks with adequate seal that have to be tested prior to use.

There are TWO major categories of fit tests: Qualitative (pass/fail basis) and Quantitative (scientific measure basis).

  1. Qualitative Fit Testing (QLFT): This method assesses the seal of the respirator based on the wearer's ability to detect a test agent, which can either have a sweet taste or a bitter taste.
  2. Quantitative Fit Testing (QNFT): This method measures the actual amount of leakage air flow into the facepiece respirators. Irwin's uses PortaCount Fit testing technology that counts particles inside and outside the respirator, calculating a fit factor that indicates how well the respirator fits. Unlike qualitative methods, which rely on subjective taste response, the PortaCount provides objective, numerical results, ensuring a more accurate assessment of the respirator’s fit. We will conduct a variety of fit test exercises using this machine such as Normal Breathing Exercises, Deep Breathing, Talking Exercise, and others to ensure that no airborne contaminants can enter the respirator filter. 

Why is Respiratory Fit Testing Important?

  • Compliance with Regulations: Fit testing is mandated by occupational health and safety regulations in many jurisdictions.
  • Worker Safety: Proper respirator selection significantly reduces the risk of exposure to harmful airborne particles.
  • Performance Assurance: Regular respirator fit testing ensures respirators continue to perform as expected over time. 

Our Testing Process

  1. Initial Consultation: We start with an assessment of your workplace needs and the types of respirators in use (half-mask respirators, full-face respirators, and their types). We determine which of the fit test methods is most applicable to your wants at this stage.
  2. On-Site Fit Testing Procedure at your Location or Ours!: Our certified professionals usually conduct fit testing at your location for convenience and efficiency, but we also provide fit testing services at our offices.
  3. Training and Guidance: We can also provide training on proper respirator use, maintenance, and fit checking.
  4. Certification and Documentation: Post-testing, we issue certification for compliant respirators and provide detailed documentation for your records.

Who Needs Respiratory Protection and Testing?

  • Employees who wear respirators during their regular job duties.
  • Workplaces where exposure to dust, vapors, fumes, or other airborne particles is a concern.
  • Industries like healthcare, construction, painting, chemical handling, and more.

Schedule Your Fit Test Today

The only way to really be sure that your respirator fits is to have a respirator fit test done. Book your Respiratory Fit Test today, or call for help finding a local fit testing company in your area.

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Free Respirator Selection and Maintenance Course

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During health crises like the one we are currently in, the demand for masks skyrockets. People want to protect themselves and their loved ones, and understandably so. I’m sure you know that there are many different types of masks and respirators, and that they are not all the same. But are you using yours properly, and how can you be sure it really fits? Manufacturer instructions are generally very vague, and do not always spell out appropriate selection, use of, and care for your respirator. This brief program, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes, is built to educate you on how to properly select your respirator, how to put it on and take it off, what to watch for when you are wearing it, and how to properly care for it.


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Quantitative Fit Testing

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This test is designed for tight fitting full-face masks but can also be used as a highly acute measure for half masks and N95 masks used by medical personnel. Quantitative fit-testing uses highly specialized equipment to measure particles in the atmosphere and inside the mask while the wearer performs tests to ensure a secure seal. Quantitative fit testing is performed using a Portacount machine, as per CSA standard, and is the only acceptable method for testing full face masks. It is proven to be more accurate than qualitative fit testing and therefore ensures the highest standard of safety. Quantitative Fit testing uses a highly accurate reading of the air particles inside and outside the mask. This method is recommended and provides the best possible reading of how well a mask fits your facial structure.

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Qualitative Fit Testing

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Qualitative fit testing uses an odorous mist or irritant smoke sprayed in an enclosed hood. The participant wears a mask and tries to detect the material by smelling for it. If the test is a pass, no smell is detected. A qualitative test measures the PERSON'S ability to detect the odour through a mask. These tests, although not as accurate as a quantitative test, still accurately determine if a mask properly fits the wearer and are widely accepted in many industries. Testing of this kind is acceptable and limited to checking filtering face pieces and half-mask respirators.
Qualitative testing is fast, requires minimal equipment and are easily performed with large groups. Check with your employer to see if this an acceptable test process for your organization.

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IRWIN'S fit test process delivers the surety you and your team demand. The only sure way to know your respirator fits is to perform a respirator fit test. At IRWIN'S, we stand ready to help you comply with our provincial guidelines and stay safe.

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