Occupational Health Fit Testing for OSHA

Occupational Health Fit Testing for OSHA

If you’re an employer who is subject to OSHA standards, you need to be sure you are compliant with OSHA and their Occupational Health Fit Testing. What is OSHA? OSHA stands for Occupational Health and Safety Administration. It is an agency set in place to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing certain standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and other assistance. They even inspect workplaces to check compliance. 

What Are The Osha Standards? 

There are five categories of OSHA standards: General Industry, Maritime, Construction,

Agriculture, and Federal Employee Programs. There are rules within each that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards, according to OSHA.

There really are hundreds of standards, and partnering with Blue Star Diagnostics can ensure your business is compliant with OSHA standard testing. Our expertise can help your business get one step closer to performing the best it can. 

From creating the testing policy to implementing the occupational testing and drug screening services, we are available throughout the entire process to help your business achieve regulatory compliance.

What Is Fit Testing For Osha?

Did you know that fit testing for a respirator mask is required by OSHA? OSHA requires fit testing for any employee who uses a tight-fitting respirator. This test has to be done before a respirator is used in the workplace, and redone annually or when the circumstances call for it.  

OSHA outlines their mandatory fit testing procedures and protocols in a relatively lengthy appendix, but fortunately for you, we are educated and experienced in the requirements. 

At Blue Star Diagnostics, we specifically specialize in respiratory mask and pulmonary fit tests

The following are some of OSHA’s general guidelines for respiratory mask fit tests:

  • Respirators (including disposable masks) must tightly seal to the wearer’s face
  • Fit tests must happen before the employee wears the mask on the job and just be repeated annually and time a different size, style, or model of mask is used.

Blue Star is certified in the Pulmonary Fit Test.

What Is A Fit Test For N95?

The ADA provides that a fit test “tests the seal between the N95 mask’s, or respirator’s, facepiece and your face.” They claim it takes between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. The test should be performed when this type of mask is first used and then repeated annually, at least. 

The test is to make sure the mask fits and seals properly so potentially contaminated air or dangerous substances are kept out. The fit test must be conducted using the same make, model, and size of mask that the worker will use on the job. If the model of mask used for the fit test does not properly fit, another make, model, style, or size of mask must be tested until one that fits properly has been identified. 

Employers are expected to provide staff with a reasonable selection of sizes and models to try. 

Fit Testing Procedures/Osha-accepted Fit Test Protocols

In this section, we’ll cover more of OSHA’s accepted fit testing procedures and protocols (Source: OSHA.gov). 

  • The test subject can pick the most acceptable respirator from a sufficient number of respirator models and sizes so that the respirator is acceptable to, and correctly fits, the user.
  • Instruct the test subject on how to put on a respirator, how it should be positioned on the face, how to set strap tension and how to determine an acceptable fit. A mirror shall be available to assist the subject in evaluating the fit and positioning of the respirator.
  • Inform the subject that he/she is being asked to select the respirator that provides the most acceptable fit for adequate protection.
  • Instruct the subject to hold each chosen facepiece up to the face and eliminate those that obviously do not give an acceptable fit.
  • Note the more acceptable facepieces in case the one selected proves unacceptable. 
  • The most comfortable mask is donned and worn for at least five minutes to assess comfort. Assistance in assessing comfort can be given.
  • If the test subject is not familiar with using a particular respirator, they should be directed to put on the mask several times and adjust the straps each time to become adept at setting proper tension on the straps.
  • To assess comfort, review the position of the mask on the nose, room for eye protection, room to talk, and the position of the mask on the face/cheeks with the test subject.
  • To determine an adequate fit, check for proper placement of the chin, adequate strap tension, fit across the nose bridge, any slippage, and self-observation in the mirror.

These are just a few practices to make sure you cover to follow OSHA’s fit testing standards. There are many more that can be found in the proper appendix. 

It is also important to know that fit tests can be categorized into two categories: qualitative or quantitative. Requirements or protocols can differ dependent on the type of fit test being done.

We’re Compliant

Schedule your test today. We have three convenient locations throughout Texas- find us in Frisco, Plano, or Dallas White Rock Lake! Contact us by calling  (469) 656-7999 or email plano@bluestardiagnostics.com.