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When Does A Face Fit Test Need To Be Repeated?
Face fit tests should be repeated after any significant change to the face has occurred; this could be an injury or weight change.
The new fit testing guidance, INDG 479 recommends employers have a plan for monitoring this. Fit2Fit also recommend a retest every 2 years.
How often should a face fit test be repeated? Here we try to cover all the different circumstances that can require a fresh fit test to be done.
The most common problem tends to be the wearing of a different mask to that shown on the certificate. For example, someone tested on a ‘Moldex 3405 FFP3 R D’ must always use that particular make and model of FFP3 mask.
For this reason, it is important that the initial selection of the type of mask to be used is well thought through and the cost implications are fully understood.
As time passes our facial characteristics change, to keep up with this Fit2Fit recommend a new test be done after two years. For young workers it may be prudent to do tests more regularly, particularly if they are likely be effected by the facial changes we undergo during puberty.
Repeat testing would also be needed if the wearers’ weight increased or decreased by more than 10% from that when tested.
How about pregnancy and face fit testing? The guidance is that it shouldn’t be necessary but we’d suggest being particularly careful in this circumstance; it may be prudent to prevent that person from being exposed to any form of respiratory hazard. If that’s unavoidable, we’d suggest a repeat test at the end of each trimester.
Injuries can also play a role; particularly a broken nose or jaw. Equally, a scar affecting the seal would require a new test to be done. Surgery could also affect a fit; the removal of wisdom teeth or cosmetic surgery could have a bearing.
Piercings or moles can also be an issue if they affect the mask seal.
New prescription spectacles, hard hats, ear-defenders etc could all create problems that a new fit test might be best placed to ensure the air tight seal has been maintained.
By understanding these particulars, you should be in a good place to implement an effective program for the repeat face fit testing of your employees.
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