Occupational Medicine Clinic
Respirator Fit Test
in Sonoma, Napa and Benicia
Respirator Fit Test Solution at Urgent Care + TeleHealth
Stay safe on the job! At Urgent Care + TeleHealth clinics in Napa, Sonoma and Benicia, we now offer an OSHA-approved quantitative respirator fit testing which ensures that masks fit properly and employers meet OSHA compliance. Our goal is to help employers comply with the annual OSHA-required fit tests for N95 masks and respirators by providing a quick and accurate service.
A respirator fit test is a procedure used to determine the proper fit of a full face mask, half-face respirator or N95 mask on an individual. The fit test ensures that the respirator is properly sealed to the user’s face, so that inhaled air is filtered through the respirator rather than bypassing it.
If you have any questions about respirator fit testing or want to schedule a test, contact Urgent Care + TeleHealth for more information.
Which Jobs Require a Respirator Fit Test?
- Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals
- Nursing Home Workers
- Auto Repair
- Restoration Workers
- Anyone who may be exposed to asbestos
- Farm and Agricultural Workers
- Anyone whose job involves inhaling hazardous airborne particles or infectious agents, gases or vapors.
California employers are required to provide respirators to workers if the working conditions include harmful exposures. Along with providing the respirators, the employer must have a written respiratory protection program that addresses: proper selection of respiratory equipment; employee training; and regular tests to ensure proper fit of the respirators.
What is Respirator Fit Testing?
Respiratory protective equipment must be able to protect wearers adequately when they are used. If they leak, then the respirator will be unable to protect the wearer.
Respirator fit testing is mandatory in California, as outlined by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). California employers need to follow Cal/OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (Title 8, Section 5144), which requires fit testing of respirators.
According to the standard, employers must ensure that their employees use the right respirator for the hazards at work, and that the respirator fits each employee properly. Fit testing must be done before an employee can use a respirator in the workplace, and must be repeated at least once a year or when there are changes to the employee’s physical condition or the respirator being used.
Employers must keep records of fit testing and provide their employees with training on how to use, maintain, and limit their respirators. Non-compliance with Cal/OSHA’s respiratory protection standard can lead to citations and penalties, so employers in California should follow these requirements to protect their employees from respiratory hazards at work.
No one particular style or size of respirator will fit everyone because people come in all different shapes and sizes. And people wear different safety equipment such as googles, glasses or hard hats that can interfere with the respirator fit. Fit testing is a service done at Urgent Care + TeleHealth clinics in Napa, Sonoma and Benicia to guarantee that the respirator is appropriate and effective for the wearer.
A fit test is a protocol to ensure that a respirator is both comfortable and offers the intended level of protection for the user. To check the respirator’s fit, there are two types of tests allowed by OSHA: qualitative and quantitative.
Qualitative fit testing uses a test agent such as smoke that can be qualitatively detected by the wearer’s sense of taste, smell, or involuntary cough.
At Urgent Care + TeleHealth, we use the more accurate quantitative testing which checks the mask with a sophisticated device.
N95 and Respirator Mask Fitting FAQ
Why Is It Important For Masks To Be Professionally Fit?
There is no guarantee that a worker’s respirator is offering the expected level of protection if it does not seal properly.
If the respirator mask does not comfortably fit your face and is not sealed tight enough, polluted air may seep through the mask’s facepiece, putting you at risk of breathing in harmful materials.
- The Respirator Seal
The respirator will seal against your skin if it fits you correctly. Air must flow through the filter in order for a respirator to function. Air will follow the path of least resistance; therefore, if the seal is not working, air will bypass the respirator rather than pass through it, reducing the level of protection.
- Compatibility With Other Personal Protective Equipment
A respirator may compete with safety goggles, hearing protection, face shields, hard helmets, and coveralls for space on a person’s face, head, or torso. For instance, a half-face respirator may overlap with glasses if it doesn’t fit properly. The more often that occurs, the greater the possibility of glasses fogging up and the likelihood that they would obstruct the respirator’s seal.
A respirator will be more stable on the wearer’s face if it fits them well. The respirator’s capacity to maintain its seal while the wearer is moving is determined during the fit testing. A respirator that moves while being worn might be unable to keep its seal.
To assess whether a respirator is fitted correctly, the following criteria must be met:
(a) an adequately positioned chin;
(b) Sufficient strap tension; avoid overtightening;
(c) Fit over the nasal bridge
(d) A respirator that fits comfortably from nose to chin;
(e) The respirator’s propensity to slip;
(f) Examining oneself in the mirror to assess fit and respirator placement.
What Workers Typically Use Respirators?
When an employee is exposed to a dangerous amount of airborne contaminants, they are required by the employer to wear a respirator; it applies to all occupational airborne exposures to contaminated air.
Although all types of respirators are intended to shield you against respiratory illnesses in general, not all conditions call for them. Understanding the many styles and their uses will enable you to choose where to use each.
- Particulate Respirators:
These respirators only work against particles smaller than 0.3 microns. Healthcare professionals typically wear these masks to shield them from airborne viruses. Construction workers, carpenters and painters also use this type.
- Chemical Cartridge Respirators:
Toxic pesticides are a common problem for those who work in agriculture. These respirators can protect the user from dangerous lung conditions in this situation. Again, these respirators might be used to protect persons who operate in chemical businesses.
- Powered Air-purifying Respirators (PAPR)
These respirators can be used by those who have breathing problems. These respirators mechanically suck air in, making breathing easier. Elderly persons and children find these most useful.
- Escape Respirators
When there is a need for an emergency evacuation owing to low oxygen levels or hazardous substances that cannot be filtered, these are frequently employed by miners, emergency responders, the chemical industry, and military personnel.
- Self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
These respirators can get fresh air when the air is too polluted for the filter to handle or when there isn’t enough oxygen. Used by Military Personnel, Firefighters, Mountaineers, Pilots and Flight Attendants.
What does OSHA Require for Fit Testing?
OSHA requires a series of exercises such as normal breathing, deep breathing, turning head side to side, moving the head up and down, talking, bending over (or jogging).
- OSHA mandates qualitative or quantitative fit testing, which must be evaluated yearly.
- Additionally, fit testing must be carried out:
- Any time a different respirator size, type, model, or brand is worn
- Any time any face changes could compromise fit, like a significant weight change or dental work.
According to the OSHA standard, fit test administrators must be knowledgeable in test administration, invalid results identification, and equipment cleaning and maintenance. OSHA does not require them to be certified.
How is mask fit testing performed at Urgent Care + Telehealth occupational medicine clinics in Napa, Sonoma and Benicia?
At Urgent Care + TeleHealth we use a sophisticated quantitative testing device that is an ideal option for industrial, first responder, and healthcare respirator users. This device can handle all respirator fit testing needs and was designed with all respirator users in mind.
The most accurate type of respirator fit testing is quantitative fit testing, which uses a data-driven methodology to assess how well a respirator mask fits a healthcare worker. The device measures the concentration of particles in the surrounding air and inside the mask, and it compares these concentrations to assess how well the mask fits.
The person wears the respirator and performs user seal checks to confirm that they are properly wearing the mask. Before the respirator fit test, the respirator is connected to the sample inlet of the device with the appropriate fit test adapter and twin tube. Once completed, the fit test record will be provided.
Mask Fit Testing FAQ References
- Fit Test FAQs | NPPTL | NIOSH | CDC. (2021, September 3). Fit Test FAQs | NPPTL | NIOSH | CDC. Retrieved January 14, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/respsource3fittest.html
- Fit Testing | Center for Respiratory Protection | Respiratory Protection | 3M – US. (n.d.). Fit Testing | Center for Respiratory Protection | Respiratory Protection | 3M – US. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/respiratory-protection-us/support/center-for-respiratory-protection/fit-testing/#respirator
- OSHA Revised Respiratory Protection Standards – MN Dept. of Health. (n.d.). OSHA Revised Respiratory Protection Standards – MN Dept. Of Health. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.health.state.mn.us/facilities/patientsafety/infectioncontrol/rpp/osha.html
- Who Uses Respirators And Why? (n.d.). Breath Buddy. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://mybreathbuddy.com/blogs/blog/who-uses-respirators-and-why
- 5910.134 App A – Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory). | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). 1910.134 App A – Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory). | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134AppA
What They Say
"Very good experience here. Made an appointment this morning, got in quickly , filled out forms online beforehand. Only waited 5 minutes and was seen by efficient, professional doctor. Front staff were very friendly and professional. I highly recommend this office, especially if you are vacationing in Napa!!! ;)"