Respirator face fit testing

Respirators must be very efficient to prevent asbestos related illness during asbestos removal. Respirators are not efficient enough even with fans or compressed air if the mask does not sit tightly on the face. The legally mandated face fit test is necessary to ensure protection.

During asbestos removal using the partition method, a personal full-face mask and respirator equipped with a diesel particulate filter which fulfils the EN12942 class TM3P requirements must be used. If the material being removed contains crocidolite, a compressed air line breathing apparatus with full-face mask which meets EN 14594 type 4 or EN 14593-1 standards must be used. The equipment can have a mobile compressor and air tank. Due to the short usage time, mobile compressed air equipment is not suitable for removal work**.

Mask tests must be PREVENTIVE. An air sample taken with a needle cannot provide a preventive effect, only confirm the existence of asbestos fibres inside the mask, in which case the damage has already been done. Furthermore, no modifications or holes may be made in the mask for testing. This method of testing should be given up completely (ASTQ comment)

Masks are fitted when bought, to ensure the correct size and model is found. Before an employee begins removal work or switches model, a personal face fit test is performed to ensure the mask has a tight fit. The test is repeated once a year. The mask may not be damaged during face fit testing.**

Before each use check the mask for damage, the battery’s charge, the remaining filtration capacity of the filter, and the diesel particulate filter alarm. If parts are changed on the mask, the integrity of the mask is always tested by placing it on a test head which tests the seal with for instance a low pressure test**.

The mask is always cleaned in the airlock after use. The mask is tested with your own breathing after being equipped. A beard or even a day’s stubble will weaken the mask’s seal and endanger the user’s health. The employer should negotiate banning beards in coordination with the employees.**

Test prerequisites**

  • The participant must be in a good state of health

  • The participant must be clean shaven in the seal areas of the mask on the day of the test

  • The test is done without glasses.

  • The participant must be able to wear the mask correctly and ensure it is properly in place by testing it with their own breathing. If equipping of the mask is guided the test should only be restarted once the participant has equipped the mask independently.

  • Dirty or broken masks are not tested.

  • Check the that mask, filters, and ventilators are a type-approved whole.
    If not, note in the test report that the equipment does not meet legal requirements.

  • The test equipment must be calibrated, and the functionality tested on the day of testing.

  • Legislation regarding personal data must be considered. We process personal data according to the ASTQ Suppy House Oy Registry and data protection document

Face fit test with Quantifit**

The Redon method installed in the device is used for testing. The test lasts about 8-10 minutes. Before the test the mask’s intake valve’s flap is removed and the measuring adapter is placed on the filter. The user puts on the mask and lets it settle on the face for a few minutes. The tester walks the user through the test movements. The Redon method includes five test movements.**.

  1. Standing still with the face forward
  2. Bending over at the waist with the face towards the floor
  3. Shaking of the head and exhaling forcefully or yelling
  4. Opening all the straps on the mask, removing the mask, and putting on the mask again.
  5. Putting on the mask again as above.

For each test movement, the user is stationary, inhales, and holds their breath. Then press the Quantifit start button, which closes off airflow to the mask and starts the test. The test phase ends after 8 seconds and the user can breathe normally. After completion the intake valve flap is put in place.**

**Source: Asbestipurkutyön turvallisuuden ja siihen liittyvien testaus- ja mittaustoimintojen kehittäminen – AsbTest (2017-2019) (merkitty **)