Thursday, 12 January 2012

Breathe ever more safely

Whilst tight fitting half face respirators may offer an acceptable level of protection to some wearers, they do not suit or fit everyone. Probably the worst problem which is almost certainly overlooked by virtually every employer and most employees is that even if the wearer has been Face Fit Tested and has passed the test, if that person gains a lot of weight and his or her face becomes much fatter (sadly a modern trait in the UK), or in a few cases the operator loses a lot of weight and his or her face gets much thinner, the test that was carried out will probably need to be repeated. This can become a very expensive exercise, even though a ‘Qualitiative’ test takes not much more than 20 minutes per person.
Assuming for one minute that a particular operator passes a ‘Qualitiative’ Face Fit Test, what has to be remembered, but is often forgotten, is that this type of test is carried out on a particular make and model of respirator and no other! Therefore if an employer or one of his or her employees decides to change the RPE supplier or even the brand of RPE the test results become invalid. New Face Fit Test must be carried on the new respirator, at of course, additional cost! Of course the same problem would also have to be overcome when or if the dealer/supplier changes his or her manufacturer or make of RPE!
Finally and perhaps even worse is that some respirators fit some people better than others, so it is quite possible that one operator will pass a test when wearing one make of respirator but may fail a test when wearing another make of respirator that has the same level of protection!

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