Respirator: Fit Checking and Fit Testing

Respirator: Fit Checking and Fit Testing

Key Points:

1. Respirators protect wearer from harmful dust, gases, chemicals, fumes, mist, and vapors.

2. Whenever you wear a respirator you must check that it should provide a proper seal to your face and you must get a proper fit each time you put it on.

3. Always make sure that you get a tight seal around your face all times.

4. Always choose the respirator is NIOSH approved and it is not then please do not wear it.

Approved Respirators Prevent Bodily Harm

1. Respirators protect wearer from harmful air particulates and airborne particles such as dust, chemical gases, and chemical vapors. Wearing a respirator is always a good idea if you are working in a environment that has contaminated air.

2. Only filtered air can enter your lungs when a respirator fits properly.

Putting on a Respirator

Note to trainer: Demonstrate each of the following steps to trainees.

1. Hold the respirator in your hands with the nosepiece facing up.

2. Put the mask over your mouth and nose.

3. Put the straps properly and then adjust the facepiece and straps until you have a comfortable fit.

4. Always check the instruction guide or find a video on YouTube regarding this. Owner’s manual that comes with the respirator has all the necessary information that you many require to know how to wear a respirator. Some respirators have three straps and some have two straps only. You must check the owner manual to know additional fitting instructions.

Fit Checking Your Respirator

1. A fit check is a safety measure that makes sure that the air you breathe in is flowing through the respirator and unfiltered air is not getting past.

2. Wearer must always do a fit check whenever he/she wear a respirator.

3. If wearer is not getting a proper fit then he/she must report this to the supervisor.

4. After wearing a respirator if you smell something or taste something then it simply mean that your respirator is giving you a perfect fit.

5. People with facial hairs or beards must avoid wearing respirators as it does not allow the edges of respirator to fit comfortably on your face to provide you a tight seal.

Performing a Fit Check

Note to trainer: Demonstrate each of the following steps to trainees.

1. Cover the area on the mask with hands from where the air enters into it. (On half face or full face respirators you must put your hands over the place where you attach the filters to your respirator)

2. Now start inhaling slowly for count of fifteen. You should not push on the mask but should simply inhale after placing your hands over air inlet

3. Now check if the respirator facepiece pulls towards your face. At this point no air should come inside the facepiece. No air should leak inside.

4. Cover the area where air leaves the mask.

5. Not you just exhale slowly for a count of fifteen. At this point your respirator/facepiece should be bulging slightly.

6. Now same as step 3 you must check for leaks between your face and the facepiece of the respirator.

7. If you do not detect any leaks then it means you have got the desired tight seal which will prevent any leakage to the mask. But if you detect any leaks then you must readjust your facepiece. Try adjusting your straps and then again check for a proper fit.

How to Properly Fit Check and Fit Test Your Respirator

Qualitative fit testing

One must always check the instruction guide that comes with the respirator to get a desired tight seal.

With a beard or facial deformities, the person may be unable to pass a fit test. These workers can use a powered air-purifying respirator. Air purifying respirator should not be used where oxygen supply is less than 20% in the environment. In an oxygen deficient zone worker must wear a supplied air respirator.

People suffering from heart disease, lung problem, asthma or form any breathing problem must avoid wearing air purifying respirator because breathing through respirator is hard.

1. Always choose the respirator for yourself that fits best on your face. A best fitting respirator will provide a great seal to your face.

2. Always perform a fit when you buy a new respirator. Also if you undergo any facial change such as scarring, dental change, cosmetic surgery or obvious weight change, then also you must perform a fit check.

3. You can choose the respirator according to your face size and it comes in different sizes and models.

4. Always wear a respirator that gives you appropriate seal and then perform a fit check.

5. The first step towards checking the fit test is by detecting the fit testing agent by smelling or tasting it without wearing a respirator. If you smell or taste the testing agent after wearing the respirator then it means you need to check the seal as there may be the chances of leakage in it.

6. Whenever you taste the testing agent on any respirator including disposable “dust/mist” respirator while wearing it, it simply means you do not have a proper seal.

7. To check the leakage on full face respirator and half face respirator you must use the same method of smelling and tasting the testing agent. In these dual cartridge respirators you can use smoke or banana oil as a testing agent.

8. You fit test must include certain exercises such as saying the alphabet or talking. You must feel comfortable after wearing a respirator. Try to move your head from left to right and up and down while wearing the respirator.

9. Whenever you taste or smell the substance while wearing the respirator it simply means you need to check for leaks.



1. Always read the owner manual that comes with respirator and follow the instructions mentioned on it. You must read those instructions to know how to wear a respirator and how to get a proper fit.

2. Chemicals and dust are dangerous to health if inhaled without a respirator

3. Always perform the fit test before wearing a respirator and going to work. Make sure no air leaks between your face and the respirator facepiece.


1. Never forget to check the leakage and perform the fit test before you start your work wearing respirator.

2. Do not wear a respirator if it does not pass a fit test check.

3. You should not wear a respirator if you have facial hairs as you won’t get a tight seal between the respirator and your face.

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