A “fit test” tests the seal between the respirator’s face-piece and your face. Normally this type of verification will take approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and is performed at least annually. After passing a fit test with a respirator, you must use the exact same make, model, style, and size respirator on the job.  The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require employers to fit test employees who must wear these respirators on the job.  Click here for OSHA Training Videos on respirator protection.


What is the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative?

Qualitative– This type of fit test is a pass/fail fit test method.  This procedure relies on taste, irritation and smell while fitting the mask.  Employers and Individuals should keep in mind that this pass or fails is based only on the individual detecting the leakage of the test substance into your face-piece.  There are currently four Qualitative Respirator Fit Tests that are recognized by OSHA.

  1. Isoamyl acetate (smells like bananas)
  2. Saccharin (leaves a sweet taste in your mouth)
  3. Bitrex (leaves a bitter taste in your mouth)
  4. Irritant smoke (can cause coughing)

Quantitative-  This type of testing utilizes an instrument that samples and measures airborne particles inside of the mask.  This type of test measures the actual amount of leakage into the face piece and does not rely upon your sense of taste, smell or irritation.  There are currently three Quantitative Respirator Fit tests that are recognized by OSHA.

  1. Generated aerosol
  2. Ambient aerosol and
  3. Controlled negative pressure

Always remember that there is no universal one size fits all for respirators.  If the respirator fails the fit test, try another make, model, style, or size must be tried until one is found that fits you properly. It is often a good practice as an employer to offer a reasonable selection of sizes and models for you to choose from.

Once you have successfully completed the respirator fit testing process, ensure you make a note on which model, style, and size respirator fits your face properly and what are the specific time and places where you’ll need to wear it for your protection.

We also recommend that you keep in mind that your respirator must be retested whenever you have a change in your physical condition that could affect the fit of you respirator.

Some examples can include

  • Major weight gain or loss;
  • Major dental work (such as new dentures);
  • Any facial surgery/injury that may have altered the shape of your face; or
  • Anything that may impact the area of the seal

For more information or to schedule your respirator fit test call us today at 800-219-7161 or click the schedule a test now button below