A respiratory fit test tests the fit and seal an N95 respirator’s face piece makes on your face. This test may take up to 15 minutes and should be performed by staff annually. Individuals should only be wearing respirators they have been tested on.
Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health provides respiratory fit testing for a variety of organization's throughout the region:
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Supported Living Agencies
- Public Health Units
- First Responders
- Medical Providers
There are two types of fit tests: qualitative and quantitative. More information about the tests is located online through the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
- Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test that uses your taste reaction to an irritant (bitters) to test leakage into a face piece. This test does not destroy the mask and staff will take their mask with them following the test.
- Quantitative fit testing uses a PortaCount machine to measure the actual amount of particulate leakage into the face piece, and does not rely on an individual’s sense of taste, smell or irritation. This test destroys the mask and masks will be discarded following the test.
Not everyone can get a good fit with one specific respirator. Upon completing the fit testing, each individual will need to know which make, model, style and size respirator works best with their face. These factors could change due to a variety of conditions:
- Significant weight gain/loss
- Major dental work
- Facial surgery
- Significant scarring in the area of the seal.
Please note that facial hair, such as a beard or goatee, likely will affect your respirator’s ability to protect you. Anything that serves as a barrier between your face and a respirator’s seal, or gets into the respirator’s valves, can allow contaminated air to leak into the respirator.
BBPH staff also provide 'Train the Trainer' opportunities that will train members of your organization to use the respirator fit testing equipment. These individuals may then request (or purchase their own) fit testing equipment for fit testing events.
Required Respirator Fit Test Event Paperwork
- Fit Testing Pre-Test Requirements Checklist Form
- Fit Testing Pre-Test Education Form
- OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire
- Fit Testing Check Out Form
- Fit Testing Block Schedule Form
- Sample Respiratory Protection Program Document (Word Document)
- How to Wear a Respirator Handout
- Qualitative Fit Testing Procedure and Checklist
- Quantitative Fit Testing Procedure and Checklist
- Respirator Fit Test Record
- Respiratory Protection FAQ