Stay compliant with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 - Standard on Respiratory Protection

Mobile Respirator Fit Testing Services

Respiratory protection violations are the third most common infraction according to OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited standards.

A most violated section of the standard regards fit testing. Section 1910.134(f)(2) states

"the employer shall ensure an employee using a tight-fitting facepiece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece (size, style, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter."

An estimated 1 in 10 people will become sick due to respiratory hazards encountered in the workplace annually (American Journal of Respiratory Care and Medicine). Ensure your employee health and regulatory compliance with respirator fit testing services from Examinetics.

Build a respiratory protection program ideal for your company with premium features from Examinetics:

  • A fleet of more than 130 mobile units that come direct to your job site
  • Nationwide onsite testing in the contiguous United States
  • Flexible scheduling options based on your work shifts
  • Expert occupational health specialists and in-house nurses
  • Full suite of offerings including respirator fit and respirator medical clearance evaluations

Qualitative and Quantitative Respiratory Fit Testing

Examinetics offers comprehensive respirator fit testing services to keep your workforce healthy and compliant with OSHA and MSHA regulations. We deliver both qualitative fit testing and quantitative fit testing onsite. Upon completion of passed tests, each eligible employee is issued a card listing the make, model and size of the proper-fitting respirator. Learn more about Qualitative and Quantitative.

Fit tests across a broad range of devices

  • Dust masks
  • Half-face masks
  • Full-face masks
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)

2 Common Mistakes You're Making With OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard

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Cutting-edge, NIOSH approved spirometry technology and software

Easy on-PC diagnostics devices:

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  • Graphs on screen as results appear in real time
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Facial Hair Guidelines

Facial hair interferes with respirator fit and therefore directly threatens your workers’ safety. Ensuring your employees have a properly shaved face will:
  • Reduce leakage between the seal on the respirator and face
  • Prevent violations of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(1)(i)
  • Keep your employees safe year-round by enforcing facial hair requirements
Considerations when addressing facial hair:
  • Facial hair that lies along the sealing area of a respirator interferes with respirators that rely on a tight fit.
  • The rule does allow some forms of neat, trimmed facial hair as long as it does not interfere with safe respirator operations.
  • Clean-shaven employees are necessary every day, not just for fit testing day.
Learn more in our FAQ section below.

FAQs

A respirator fit test determines whether or not a respirator fits over an individual’s nose and mouth and makes a tight seal to protect from hazardous airborne particles. There are two types of fit tests.  A qualitative fit test determines if the person being tested can smell/taste external agents through the mask.  A quantitative fit test uses a machine to assess the adequacy of the seal that is formed around the face by having the person do various exercises and maneuvers to detect potential leakage.

Qualitative fit testing is a subjective pass/fail method used on half-masks that rely on a user’s sense of taste to detect air leakage from the respirator. The test uses Bitrex (a harmless, bitter-tasting chemical) or Saccharin (a sweet-tasting chemical), which will determine whether the mask passes or fails.

Quantitative fit testing measures the precise amount of leakage into any tight-fitting facepieces. Instead of relying on your senses, the test is performed by a machine calculating the measurements. According to OSHA regulations, there are three acceptable quantitative fit test methods: general aerosol, ambient aerosol and controlled negative pressure, which are all available with Examinetics.

All facial hair that may impede a tight seal for a facepiece must be shaven. Neatly trimmed, closely shaved facial hair, such as small goatees or mustaches, may be acceptable while wearing a respirator. Full beards are not acceptable.

According to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134: The employer shall not permit respirators with tight-fitting facepieces to be worn by employees who have:

  • Facial hair interfering with the sealing surface or the value function
  • Any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal or valve function.
  • This requirement applies to both negative and positive pressure respiratory protective devices that rely on the principle of forming a face to facepiece seal.
  • Beard growth at points where the seal with the face and respirator occurs is a condition that has been shown by numerous studies to prevent a good face seal.
A fit test is required for all negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece respirators. This includes both supplied-air respirators and air-purifying respirators, such as filtering facepiece (N95), half mask, full facepiece and powered-air purifying respirators.
In accordance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134, if it is mandatory to wear an N95 respirator for your work, a fit test is required.

Per the OSHA Standard, fit testing is required prior to initial use, whenever a different respirator facepiece (size, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter.

Even though a respirator may not be required for the job you’re doing, you may want to use a respirator for protection while doing certain tasks.  Though fit testing is technically not required in this scenario, it is important to ensure that wearing the respirator will not be detrimental to your health.  OSHA still requires certain obligations from your employer, which are detailed here.

Employees who wear glasses may struggle to wear both their glasses and a respirator. In particular, this affects employees requiring a full-face respirator or SCBA. However, OSHA requires employers to provide employees who wear respirators with an optical corrective lens when necessary.

Full Respiratory Protection Services

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Respirator Clearance

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Contact the nation’s leading provider of Workforce Health Solutions for full respiratory protection services and more.