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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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Fit testing goes mobile

Words // Sharon Timms

Totally Workwear Cairns has been delivering respiratory fit testing services in house to industry and government agencies since 2019. And now they’re taking it on the road, delivering a mobile service across regional North Queensland.

Fumes, chemicals, dust and other hazardous contaminants are part of the every day for many workers, so taking the appropriate precautions to reduce inhalation of these substances is vital when ensuring the health and safety of employees.

One of the easiest and most effective ways this can be done is by wearing a respirator.

Respirators are worn to prevent contaminants leaking in and entering the worker’s respiratory system.

However, they’re not guaranteed to eliminate the exposure all of the time, which is where respirator fit testing comes into play.

Respiratory fit testing ensures that each employee’s respirator fits the best for the individual, making sure the highest level of protection is possible.

Totally Workwear Cairns has been delivering fit testing services in house to multiple key industry stakeholders, including government agencies since 2019, and their experience within the Health and Safety industry spans across 25 years.

In addition, TWW has comprehensive knowledge of health and safety work practices that involve respiratory masks and attachments.

As well as offering testing, TWW have a vast range of respiratory products inclusive of the fit testing service, which has now become government regulated through Work Safe Australia.

Due to overwhelming need, TWW are now providing a mobile respiratory fit testing service to regional Northern Queensland, from Cairns north to Bamaga and west to Karumba.

WHO NEEDS RESPIRATORY FIT TESTING?

Legislation obligates all employers to regularly provide health assessments for every worker who is exposed to hazardous substances or materials for work.

Anyone who wears a tight-fitting respirator during their normal workday, or anyone who wears one to perform emergency response activities, should be fit-tested to make sure the facepiece provides an effective seal.

That seal (or ‘fit’) provides assurance that the respirator will offer the proper level of protection when required.

HOW IS IT DONE?

There are two methods of testing that meet Australian Standards – qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative testing is a pass or fail test that relies on the wearer’s ability to taste or smell a test agent. This type of test can only be used on half-face respirators.

Quantitative fit testing measures the actual amount of leakage into the facepiece and does not rely upon your sense of taste, smell or irritation in order to detect leakage. The respirators used during this type of fit testing will have a probe attached to the facepiece that will be connected to the machine by a hose.

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER…

It is important to note that there is a difference between fit checking and testing.

A fit check ensures that the seal is tight, and the respirator is positioned correctly. This is a check that the wearer carries out every time they use the respirator.

This does not replace the respirator fit test, which should be carried out by an accredited practitioner. Respiratory fit testing should be repeated on a regular basis based upon risk assessment (e.g. every one or two years).

Connect // totallyworkwear.com.au/store/cairns

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