Optimum Safety Management / Amerisafe Group:  The extraordinary safety services and solutions you’ve been using from Optimum Safety Management will now be provided to you by Amerisafe Consulting and Safety Services, LLC (ACSS). The same great team, now with even more resources and solutions to support your mission.

Respirator Fit Testing Services

At Amerisafe, we offer on-site respirator fit testing, which is performed by our occupational health professionals,medical professionals, or our safety professionals.

We have a team that can come to your location to perform the testing at any time. Whether you’re looking to invest in a respirator fit test program for one employee or for a large group, we can help. Not only is our testing accurate and timely, but we make sure that our respirator fit tests are performed in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Respiratory Protection standard and use OSHA accepted test agents.


What Is A Respirator Fit Test?

A respirator fit test can be described as a type of testing protocol that is conducted with the intent to validate that a respirator fits someone’s face in a way that is both comfortable and can effectively provide an adequate seal between the user’s face and the respirator to protect the worker from airborne hazards. It is an integral part of a respiratory protection program and required by OSHA’s respiratory protection standard.

Individual, Small, or Large Group Testing

Amerisafe has the ability to perform respirator fit testing for individual employees, small groups of employees or for large groups of employees. Depending on your workplace, you may need either a qualitative fit test, a quantitative fit test, or both.

The main difference between small-group and large-group testing is the time the process will take. Amerisafe is here to help with any size group testing you need. 

Respirator Fit Testing... Amerisafe can help!

Respirator Fit Testing

Respirator Fit Testing Methods: Qualitative And Quantitative

The most important distinction when looking at a qualitative fit test vs. a quantitative fit test is that qualitative testing relies on the wearer’s senses to notice leaks between the seal of the respirator and the employee’s face. On the other hand, with a quantitative fit test, leakage is measured with an instrument and does not rely on the wearer to provide information. Either type of fit test can be conducted on half mask respirators or full mask respirators, and on negative pressure respirators and positive pressure respirators. Note that neither type of fit test replaces the negative pressure check that every respirator user must conduct when donning a respirator.

Respirator Fit Testing

Qualitative Fit Testing

With a qualitative fit test, the results of the test either end in a passing score or a failing score. A qualitative fit test method often uses the wearer’s senses of taste and smell or even their reaction or lack of reaction to a specific agent. Common OSHA accepted test agents used include Saccharin, Bitrex™ or Irritant Smoke (with either organic vapor cartridges or filters used on the respirator). If the wearer smells, tastes, or has a reaction to the agent being used, it can be concluded that there is a leakage issue with the respirator seal, and it is not fit to be used in an actual hazardous environment.

Respirator Fit Testing

Quantitative Fit Testing

A quantitative fit test measures the amount of leakage instead of relying on the wearer’s senses or physical responses. In quantitative testing, the respirator is attached to a machine that is used to interpret and record leakage results, and if these results do not meet the necessary criteria, they are determined to be unusable in real-world hazardous situations. There are three different agents used in quantitative fit testing that are also accepted under OSHA standards. These three different agents are: 

  • A Generated Aerosol Agent 
  • A Controlled Negative Pressure Agent 
  • An Ambient Aerosol Agent

Respirator Fit Testing

When Do You Need Respirator Fit Testing Services?

If your workplace requires the use of respirators to protect against harmful dusts, mists, vapors, solvents, and other airborne hazards, your employees must be fit tested annually to ensure their respirator is still fitting correctly. Because respirators come in different models and sizes, a fit test must be performed on each different make/model respirator worn by an employee.

With the help of properly fitted respirators, most contaminants in the air that can cause bodily harm if inhaled can be filtered out. Some of the many industries that commonly use respirators include:

  • Manufacturing 
  • Automotive 
  • Mining 
  • Petroleum, Oil, And Gasoline 
  • Natural Gas/Gas Extraction 
  • Painting 
  • Construction And Demolition 
  • And More 

Respirator Fit Testing

Benefits Of Fit Testing

With the help of the respirator fit testing, workers and employers can confidently know that safety precautions are being taken seriously. Respirator testing ensures that workers are wearing a tight-fitting respirator mask properly to allow normal breathing and to allow the full effectiveness of these masks’ filtration properties to be utilized.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any time an employer requires a tight-fitting respirator to be worn, a fit test must be conducted.
Employees must undergo a fit test annually after their initial fit test. The annual fit test process requires that you are fit-tested with the exact model, make, style, and size of the respirator you’ll use in the workplace.

Fit testing isn’t required for the voluntary use of dust masks. However, the employees do need to be trained on the use and limitations of the dust mask, as well as Appendix D of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard.  If employees want to voluntarily wear half or full face respirators, the employer has to comply with some requirements of the respiratory protection standard.  However, these do not include fit testing.  

If you wear safety glasses or glasses, you should keep them on during your respiratory fit test. This will ensure the equipment fits comfortably for daily use. For some respirator users, a prescription insert may be needed such as with full-face respirators.

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