In Australia, each state or territory has its own work health and safety (WHS) laws and a designated regulating agency to enforce them. For occupations that require employees to wear tight-fitting respiratory protection, employers must make all reasonable efforts to ensure no person in the workplace is exposed to dangerous levels of airborne contaminants.
One way to protect your employees from the contaminants in the air is to provide them with proper respiratory protective equipment (RPE). The appropriate RPE must be fit-tested and found to be adequate and suitable for protecting the health of the wearers.
Here are some important things to know before arranging respiratory protective equipment fit testing for your business or organisation.
Medical evaluations are a must
Before conducting a respirator fit test on a person required to use a respirator in the workplace, employers must find licensed healthcare professionals to carry out medical evaluations on them.
Workers with health problems or facial abnormalities that may prevent them from wearing and using a tight-fitting respirator safely may be disqualified from fit testing. Only those with a clean bill of health may get the tests done.
Everyone has a unique face
Respirators aren't one-size-fits-all kinds of products that will protect everyone. Every worker has unique facial features that must be taken into account to determine which respirator will fit them correctly.
A respirator fit test involves assessing the fit of a respirator on a specific user to ensure the device is tight-fitting and creates the proper seal. Workers must use the same brand and model of respirator that they bring for fit testing. They should not change their respirator without getting fit-tested first.
RPE fit testing as a last resort
Although performing respirator fit testing helps to minimise exposure risk to respiratory hazards at work, it must never be used as the first line of protection for workers. Before deciding to use respirators and meeting fit testing requirements for employees, employers must take all appropriate actions to minimize the concentration of contaminants in the air.
To help you stay compliant with your state or territory-specific WHS laws, professional respiratory protective equipment fit testing services such as FitTick can carry out respirator fit testing on-premises. All you have to do is to call them ahead to discuss your current needs and situation, as well as find out what you can do to facilitate a smooth and effective testing process for your staff.