Health, Safety & Environment Consultants

Respiratory Protective Equipment and the Face Fit Test


Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is often required for employees where direct prevention or control of exposure to inhalation of hazardous mists, fumes, vapors, fungi, bacteria, molds, viruses, gases, and sprays, is not possible.

It is really important that the right RPE is selected. You will need to consider the hazard by reviewing your Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessments and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) where available. It is also important to consider the suitability of the RPE for the wearer and the task they are undertaking. The wearer should be able to move freely without additional risks due to the wearing of RPE.

Face fit tests for RPE are essential. This is because if the RPE does not form a tight seal around the face, there is the risk of breathing in contaminants. It is for this reason, that when fit testing, the person being fit tested must be clean shaven, and also be cleanly shaven every time they use the RPE.

It is important to note that RPE may be ineffective if:

  • There is lack of maintenance
  • It has been misused
  • It is the wrong rating for the equipment
  • No face fit testing was carried out

It is important that face fit tests are repeated if:

  • User has a change in weight
  • User develops facial scars or moles which could affect the seal
  • User undergoes substantial dental work which may change the structure and shape of the face (even if not immediately obvious).

If you require face fit testing to be carried out in your organisation, contact us today on 01843 639711 or at to book your fact fit tests.

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