Respirator Fit Testing & Evaluation
Quantitative & Qualitative Respirator Fit Testing
The professional and experienced medical technicians at NOHS are trained in quantitative and qualitative respirator fit testing. OSHA requires that fit testing and respirator training be conducted annually for all employees that are required to use respiratory protection. Employees who use respirators must also be medically cleared (see Respirator Medical Clearance/Evaluation). NOHS’s method of quantitative testing determines the adequacy of the face-piece fit or seal of brand, model, size, etc. of a tight-fitting, face-piece respirator by measuring ambient air (contaminate concentration outside the mask) to the concentration inside the mask.
NOHS uses the TSI PortaCount device for quantitative fit testing. This programmable computerized system allows for exposure and specific OSHA protocol exercise requirements to be met. The device can be used with any type of respirator with a tight-fitting face piece and a wide range of adapters to fit most manufacturers face pieces, which allows employees to be tested in their own mask. (This device is widely considered to be the most “state of the art” apparatus available.)
The NOHS medical technicians will review important information with the employee such as:
- The purpose of the respirator test
- What the employee is expected to do during the test (breathing, head movements, workplace exercises, etc)
- How the equipment works
- How to put the respirator on
- How to inspect the respirator
- How to properly adjust the respirator (if necessary)
Respirators must be used in workplaces in which employees are exposed to hazardous airborne contaminants. When respiratory protection is required employers must have a respirator protection program as specified in OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Before wearing a respirator, workers must first be medically evaluated using the mandatory medical questionnaire or an equivalent method.
Medical Evaluation and Questionnaire Requirements
The NOHS respirator medical clearance evaluation consists of the following information:
- The employer must identify a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to perform all medical evaluations using the medical questionnaire in Appendix C of the Respiratory Protection standard or a medical examination that obtains the same information. (See Paragraph (e)(2)(i).)
- The medical evaluation must obtain the information requested in Sections 1 and 2, Part A of Appendix C. The questions in Part B of Appendix C may be added at the discretion of the healthcare professional. (See Paragraph (e)(2)(ii).)
- The employer must ensure that a follow-up medical examination is provided for any employee who gives a positive response to any question among questions 1 through 8 in Part A Section 2, of Appendix C, or whose initial medical examination demonstrates the need for a follow-up medical examination. The employer must provide the employee with an opportunity to discuss the questionnaire and examination results with the PLHCP. (See Paragraph (e)(3)(i).)
- The medical questionnaire and examinations must be administered confidentially during the employee’s normal working hours or at a time and place convenient to the employee and in a manner that ensures that he or she understands its content. The employer must not review the employee’s responses, and the questionnaire must be provided directly to the PLHCP. (See Paragraph (e)(4)
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