Qualitative Face Fit Testing

Do What? I hear you ask! Let me clarify…


Face Fit Testing is aimed at all those who are required to wear a half mask (or dust mask/respirator) to protect them from dust or fume inhalation during their work. 

Typically, those working in manufacturing or trades such as Tilers, Grounds Workers or Joiners etc.

The test does exactly what it says and is a check to make sure it fits your face!  It is a check to make sure workers have the right respirator for the job, it is the correct size and it doesn’t leak! This test helps employers fulfil their legal responsibility to ensure workers are protected with the right equipment and ensuring that equipment is effective…. beyond just providing a dust mask…

The Detail:

When working in dusty or air contaminated environments that could present a breathing/respiratory hazard to health (for example groundworkers cutting paving flags, Tilers cutting tiles and Joiners cutting wood or where fumes may be present) AND where those hazards are not able to be controlled by other means (extraction, dampening) as a last option, respirators can provide the correct level of protection for the job.

Examples of masks:

To ensure these masks (or respiratory protective equipment (RPE) are doing their job, employers have a duty to ensure masks are ‘Face Fitted’ to their user… Meaning exactly that, they are checked for fit!

Reasons for face fitting:
  • Legal requirement.
  • To ensure the user has the correct type, size and style to fit them so that the protection offered is effective.
  • To ensure the user has the knowledge to fit the mask properly for themselves to enable long term protection of the risks.
Pollard Safety Services Ltd now offer Qualitative Face Fit Testing.  This test takes about 15 minutes per person and involves:
  • A sensitivity test first to ensure the user can taste the testing solution – this is harmless and does not contain any allergy triggers.
  • Information and a check to ensure the mask is right for the user, they can fit it and to check they are fit for the full test.
  • A test where the user has their mask on and carries out a series of 7 simple exercise that ensure the fit remains secure.
Once complete and all stages have been passed, the user is provided with their report of confirmation.
A face fit test should be repeated whenever there is a change to the mask, type, size or model, or where the user may have changed for example:
  • Have significant weight gain or loss, 
  • Substantial dental work 
  • Facial changes (scars, moles, ageing around the seal area). 
  • Facial piercings.
Note: Testing cannot be carried out if the candidate has eaten within less than 30 minutes before the test, if they are unshaven, if they can’t bend at the waist or neck, or if they have a cold which will skew their sense of taste.