Face Fit Testing

Ensure your employees safety if they are exposed to hazardous dust or chemicals in the air.

Eliminate Inhalation Risks

Face Fit Testing Service

It is your legal duty to keep your employees safe in their workplace. If they work with or are exposed to hazardous dust or chemicals in the air, this means that you must do more than provide masks to keep them safe.

You need to ensure that the mask fits the wearer comfortably and creates a suitable seal on the wearer’s face to ensure protection.

Face Fit Testing ensures that any mask an employee is required to wear seals adequately to prevent the inhalation of any dangerous or hazardous particulates the wearer is exposed to.

Respitory Protection

What is Face Fit Testing?

It is recognised by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as the only means of ensuring that a mask wearer is adequately protected through the use of respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Having a tight-fitting facepiece and other masks properly fitted is essential. Otherwise, your staff could be exposed to diseases, harmful chemicals, fumes, and dust. Inhaling these substances can lead to long-term ill health for your staff and even litigation against your company.

A Face Fit Test certificate will only apply to the specific person and model of the mask that is tested on the day. If the mask is later changed or modified it will require another fit test.

Rochdale Occupational Health Service can offer advice, assessments of work environments and a Face Fit Testing service for businesses and companies throughout the United Kingdom. We are able to offer on-site HSE Face Fit Testing that can be carried out at our Head Office in Rochdale.

Rochdale Occupational Health Service - Face Fit Testing
How does it work?

Types of Face Fit Tests

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Qualitative Test

Involves asking the wearer to detect particulates themselves via smell or taste.

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Quantative Test

Gives a definitive overview of whether a mask seals adequately by using an ambient particle counting device.

Protecting Everyone

What Types of Masks Require Face Fit Testing?

You must fit test any tight-fitting masks that your workforce wears in order to protect them from hazardous materials. The only type of mask that does not need to be assessed by a qualified tester is the disposable masks modelled on surgical masks that are currently used to minimise COVID transmission.

At Rochdale Occupational Health Service, we provide a competent person to carry out fit tests on all of the following masks:

Filtering Facepieces (disposable masks)

Filtering facepieces (FFP’s) have been used in many industries to protect against a range of particulates. Since 2020 they’ve also been worn in many healthcare settings in order to provide sufficient protection against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

A tight-fitting facepiece only covers the mouth and nose area, and most feature a double strap to create a sufficient face seal. This type of mask features a passive filter in the mask itself and provides a fluid barrier as well as filtering out particulates.

Rochdale Occupational Health Service - Masks for Face Fit Testing
Rochdale Occupational Health Service - Process for Face Fit Testing
What’s involved?

The Face Fit Testing Process

Face fit testing is a simple process with Rochdale Occupational Health Service.

While wearing RPE, you are asked to do some light exercises that simulate your everyday working life. As you do these movements, we will use a hood and solution we use the qualitative method that measures the particulates in the test room and within your mask.

Once tested, your RPE will need to achieve a certain level in order to pass. This is called a fit factor. The tester will be able to identify any unsuitable facepieces and advise on adequate alternatives.

Rochdale Occupational Health Service - Regulations for Face Fit Testing
RPE Regulations

Face Fit Testing Laws in the Workplace

Providing the correct RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) for your employees is a legal requirement under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, the Control of Lead at Work Regulations, and the Control of Asbestos Regulations.

This means that many workplaces are legally required to give their employees a Face Fit Test as well. This is the only to make sure the provided face mask creates a good seal with the wearer’s face and provides sufficient protection.

Industry Requirements

Which industries require half face fit testing?

Traditionally, a face fit test was mainly needed by people working with hazardous chemicals or dust. This meant it was confined to the manufacturing, construction, and scientific research industries.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, other industries have started to utilise a face fit testing service to protect their staff. This includes the dental industry, healthcare, and within care homes. Many retail companies have even introduced these tests.

Rochdale Occupational Health Service - Face Fit Testing for Employees
Employee Requirements

Who requires face fit testing in the workplace?

Anyone who needs to wear any type of RPE to keep them safe while working is legally obliged to undergo Face Fit Testing.

This is the only method approved by the HSE to fully protect employees against inhaling hazardous substances it’s a quick and easy procedure that keeps employees as safe as possible.

Rochdale Occupational Health Service - Facial Hair Guidance for Face Fit Testing
Facial Hair Guidance

Facial Hair and Face Fit Testing

Facial hair poses an issue in Face Fit Testing.

In order for masks to create an effective seal to the face, the user must be cleanly shaven. Recent research has revealed that ANY stubble, beard, or facial hair will compromise the seal between the wearers face and their mask. This will put them in danger of breathing contaminated air.

This means we are only able to carry out a Face Fit Test on people who are clean-shaven. Staff members required to wear respiratory protective equipment on a regular basis will need to remain clean-shaven whenever they wear tight-fitting RPE so that it is able to provide adequate protection.

If you need advice about the option to use a loose-fitting respirator or hood, you can contact Rochdale Occupational Health Service for support.

All bases covered

Other Services

Audiometry

Occupational Audiometry is a screening technique used to detect early damage to hearing resulting from exposure to noise. Identifying any damage allows for follow-up remedial action in the workplace and if necessary a medical referral.

Spirometry

After completing a general respiratory questionnaire, lung function tests are carried out using a Spirometer. Results are discussed with the employee and a summary report of the results will be forwarded to the employer. If any abnormalities are detected, a referral will be made to the company Medical Officer or the employee’s GP.

Vision Screening

In industry, a comprehensive screening programme can provide a general overview of employee’s visual disorders, detecting those where corrective action should be taken. Vision Screening Tests are a means of identifying individuals with defective vision who need a full eyesight test. Using the Keystone VS-II, we carry out fourteen tests of nine visual functions, not just visual acuity alone.

Hand Arm Vibration

Employees whose hands are regularly exposed to vibration may suffer from damage to the tissues of hands and arms, which causes the symptoms collectively known as HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome).

Possibly, up to 1 in 10 people who work regularly with vibrating tools may develop HAVS.

Under The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 an employer has a duty to assess vibration risks to health and safety. The employer must eliminate vibration risk at source, or reduce to the lowest reasonable practicable level and to provide information and training for employees on vibration risks and control measures.

Absence Management & Advice

If you want to get your staff back to work as quickly and safely as possible, early intervention is essential. Once an employee has been off sick for more than six weeks, the problem is often compounded and the chances of returning to work at all are significantly reduced.

Our skilled and experienced team will work with you, in the context of your business culture and with your business priorities in mind, to resolve even the most difficult and sensitive cases, where fitness to work is an issue.  With sickness and absenteeism costing British business over £11.6 billion each year, according to the Confederation of British Industry, it is not surprising that more and more organisations are taking action to control these costs.

Medical Assessments

ROHS can undertake medical assessments for a whole range of needs. These will be carried out by the Occupational Health Physician or the Occupational Health Nurse Advisor.

Medicals include:

  • Initial Medical Assessments for New Starters
  • Night Worker Health Assessments
  • Lift Truck Driver Medical Assessments
  • Medical Assessment for Safety Critical Workers
  • Food Hygiene Medical Assessments
  • Life Style Medical Assessment
First Aid Courses

The First Aid at Work training course is designed to enable people designated as a First Aider to carry out appropriate first aid in an emergency situation at work.

At the end of the course the candidate will be able to manage a casualty who is injured at work, or suffers from a serious illness, while waiting for more qualified medical help to arrive.

Our training courses are non-regulated and held in accordance with the syllabus of subjects set out in the First Aid at Work Regulations 1981 – Approved Code of Practice 2009.  

Our courses meet the HSE’s due diligence criteria for what is expected of training providers, including the qualifications expected of trainers and assessors, monitoring and quality assurance systems, teaching and standards of first aid practice, and syllabus content and certification.