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Face Fit Testing

High level of protection

Face Fit Testing

Face Fit Testing

If you wear a mask for work that relies on making a seal with your face, then you need a face fit test. We offer face fit testing, delivered by a team of qualified and highly experienced face fit testers.

What is Face Fit Testing?

Face fit testing is a method for checking that a tight-fitting face piece matches the persons’ facial features and seals adequately to the wearer’s face. At MRS Training & Rescue we utilise the Quantitative Method of fit testing to provide the highest level of protection and confidence to your employees.

Face Fit Testing Regulations

The Approved Codes of practices supporting The Control of Substances Hazardous to health (COSHH), the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR) all recommend that the initial selection of tight fitting facepieces should include a fit test. This is to ensure that the selected Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) has the potential to provide adequate protection for the wearer (COSHH paragraph 150, CLAW paragraph 196 and CAR paragraph 133).

RPE is utilised frequently in industry to provide protection to those who work in hazardous environments or with hazardous substances.  RPE can provide a variety of methods of protection.  All, in one way or another, supply air to the nose and mouth area of the head. Research has shown that almost half of the RPE in use does not provide the wearer with the anticipated level of protection required for the task to be carried out, simply because it does not fit the wearer correctly.  It is pointless spending a considerable amount of money providing essential protection, identified by a detailed risk assessment, for your workforce only for it to be partially or even wholly ineffective due to a poor fit.  This can significantly increase the risk of those using the RPE.

Where RPE is used, it must be able to provide adequate protection for individual wearers. RPE will not protect the wearer if it leaks. A major cause of leaks is poor fit – tight-fitting face pieces must fit the wearer’s face to be effective.

As people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes it is unlikely that one type or size of RPE face piece will fit everyone. Fit testing will ensure that the equipment selected is suitable for the wearer.

Face Fit with Facial Hair or Scarring

Scarring or unshaven facial hair can significantly affect the level of protection afforded by RPE, particularly when using devices with full and half face masks which rely on tight face seal to achieve protection. These devices should not be selected where there is unshaven hair or irregular facial features around the face seal (unshaven means hair which has not been shaved within the previous 8-hour period prior to the work shift, since studies have shown that even less than one day’s growth can dramatically increase face seal leakage). In such cases alternative forms of RPE, that do not rely on a tight fit to the face, are available.

When is the best time to do a face fit test?

The best time to do fit testing is at the initial selection stage, when individual users can be given a choice of adequate models of RPE. You should ensure that the make, model, type and size of face piece that they wore when they had their successful fit test are made available for their use. If an employee wears more than one type of tight-fitting face piece, then each type of face piece should be fit tested.

The test should be repeated periodically and always following changes in circumstances such as an illness, a facial injury, or weight gain or weight loss.

Face to face (In-Person) face fit testing

We can conduct a face fit test by a qualified competent technician. If you are booking face fit testing elsewhere, you should take steps to ensure that person who carries out the fit test is appropriately trained, qualified and experienced, and is provided with appropriate information to undertake each task. 

Competence can be demonstrated through achieving accreditation under the ‘Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme’. This Scheme has been developed by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) together with industry stakeholders and is supported by HSE. The scheme is not compulsory, and employers are free to take other action to comply with the law. One-way employers can demonstrate good practice is by ensuring that the fit tester is appropriately accredited, for the type of service they offer, by the Fit2Fit scheme.

Further details on the scheme can be found here

Remember, sometimes the simplest step can make the biggest difference

  • 50% of all RPE used doesn’t fit correctly
  • One size does not fit all
  • Be safe – make sure you are breathing clean air


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For a no obligation quotation, please contact your nearest MRS Training & Rescue Centre or fill in the enquiry form below:

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