Asbestos Awareness Training

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Face-Fit Testing

Fit2Fit Tests

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Non Licenced Removal Training

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What is a Face-Fit Test?

It is a means of actually proving whether a mask works or not. How many times have you been plagued with ye-protection steaming up? How about mucky streaks down your nose or below your nostrils? These are all signs that the mask is not functioning correctly. Through a simple practical test we can verify whether the mask you use is working and if not we can provide one that will. With sites nationwide demanding to see face-fit test certificates and accrediting bodies such as CHAS etc wanting to see evidence why wait for the inevitable HSE visit.

Face-Fit Tests:

Ensure that wearers of RPE use a model of respirator that adequately protects them from airborne particles. The test checks that a selected face-piece fits the facial features of the wearer and makes an adequate seal with their face, reducing the access of contaminants into the breathing area.

Teach wearers how to correctly put on and wear the face-piece each time they need one.

Why do I need Face Fit Testing?

We all have different faces and what fits one person won’t necessarily fit another. Prior to face fit testing being introduced a scientific study concluded that out of 2’000 people nearly half of them weren’t getting the protection their FFP3 mask was supposed to be providing. With nearly 12’000 deaths per annum in the United Kingdom from workplace dust and chemical exposure the need to protect workers has never been greater.

A face fit test certificate is required before any work liable to expose a worker to dust or chemicals can be undertaken. The HSE highlight that fit test records for each person wearing RPE should be kept available for a minimum of 5 years and for inspection upon request. INDG 479 which supersedes HSE 282/28 details face-fit testing requirements.

What is involved?

You’d be amazed at how few people we meet who actually know how to put a mask on their face in a way it is likely to work. We regularly visit sites where good FFP3 masks are being used but they simply aren’t worn correctly.

Because of this, our face fit training takes care to ensure delegates are, first and foremost, taught to put the mask on correctly.

Following this, we subject them to a sensitivity solution that tastes either bitter (Bitrex) or sweet (Saccharin). Once they confirm that they have tasted the solution, we then place a fit test hood placed over their head.

The air inside the hood is then filled with the leak detecting aerosol and a series of minute long movement tests are performed to ensure an effective seal is maintained – if the delegate can taste the leak detector corrective action is taken. This may be tweaking the fit of the mask or providing an alternative type of RPE that is likely to work.

Delegates have their Face-Fit Test result displayed on their training certificate and the client is provided with a test record sheet.

How long is a face fit test certificate valid for?

Firstly, the test is only valid so long as the wearer continues to use the exact make, model and size to that they were tested on. If your workers are tested on an FFP3 disposable mask then they must wear the same brand and model used on the day of the test. A common mistake is to see operatives then using a different FFP3 mask – this is not acceptable as the shape which seals against the face is different for all makes and models.

Secondly, weight fluctuation will affect the result of the test. Guidance is that so long as weight stays within 10% of their weight when tested, all is ok.

Thirdly, any injury to the face can invalidate their certificate. Common examples of this would be a broken nose, a new scar where the mask seals, major dental work such as wisdom teeth being removed, a mole that develops along the sealing surface or potentially new prescription spectacles that affect where the mask sits on the nose.

Fourthly, ageing! Unfortunately time catches up with us all and the ageing process requires we are retested at least every 2-3 years. For some, particularly young workers, whose faces may change significantly over the course of a year; this testing should be more frequent.

Can I wear a mask with a beard or stubble?

Any facial hair that makes contact with the sealing surface of the mask must be no more than a day’s growth. The guidance is that the wearer shaves within 8 hours of starting their shift. Studies prove that leakage rates increase dramatically with facial hair growth.

For those who cannot shave due to legitimate medical or religious reasons, a loose-fitting positive pressure hood type of RPE with an assigned protection factor (APF) of at least 20, equivalent to a half-face P3 mask must be provided.

Employees cannot sign disclaimers as this is statutory legislation and as an employer, you are legally bound to prevent harmful substances being inhaled.


We are able to deliver on-site training courses in all these regions:

Avon, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Borders, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Central Scotland, Cheshire,  Cleveland, Clwyd, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Dumfries/Galloway, Dyfed, East Sussex, Essex, Fife, Gloucestershire, Grampian, Greater Manchester, Gwent, Gwynedd County, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Highlands, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Lothian, Merseyside, Mid Glamorgan, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Powys, Shropshire, Somerset, South Glamorgan, Staffordshire, Strathclyde, Suffolk, Surrey, Tayside, Tyne and Wear, Warwickshire, West Glamorgan, West Midlands, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire & Yorkshire

Bangor, Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Durham, Edinburgh, Ely, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newport, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Salisbury, Sheffield, Southampton, St Albans, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Wells, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester, York