At R&B Industrial Ltd we have fully trained face fit testers to provide face fit testing in Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Dorset . The face fit tester can offer services by travelling directly to your organisation in the South of England or, we can now offer customers the option of our ‘walk in’ face fit testing clinic.

This would enable the option of group or individual bookings at the cost of £75 per person with one of our fully trained consultants here at our office based in Hampshire.

This service is particularly useful when you have a new recruit or temporary staff.

Face Fit Testing; Respiratory protection factor means nothing without seal-to-skin contact

On a cold day, a thick jacket is not going to keep us warm if we lose heat from our head and hands – we need to wear cover the exposed skin with gloves and a hat. In a similar way, the markings on respiratory protective equipment or RPE can be very reassuring but an unexpected gap between the wearers face and the seal can hugely reduce protection.

An FFP2 filter has an Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 20, meaning it removes 95% of dust. An FFP3 filter has an FFP of 100, theoretically removing 99% of dust. But in practice, this can deteriorate by an order of magnitude. Here are some examples:

full face mask
half face mask

The difference between theoretical protection and actual performance comes from gaps – either from face shape or gaps might open when the user moves around.

Facial hair, even stubble means there is never going to be a proper fit and alternative (loose fitting equipment) will be necessary.

Under the law, RPE is the last line of protection. This is because it is unreliable, RPE must be maintained and kept clean. If RPE is uncomfortable or interferes with hard hats or ear defenders, the operator will most likely not wear it or wear it incorrectly.

Instead of relying on RPE, the HSE requires that airborne hazards at work must be reduced to acceptable levels using a specific hierarchy of control.

The order of this hierarchy should be recorded in your risk assessment. First consider a substitution with a safer substance, then local extraction or general ventilation, or reducing a persons contact with the hazard. If these methods are not practical, or they cannot reduce hazard concentration to a safe level, workers must use suitable respiratory protective equipment, RPE.

If the RPE relies on a good seal with the wearers face, including disposable masks, face fit testing is a legal requirement.

hierarchy of control

The best time to do face fit testing is at the initial selection stage, when individual users can be given a choice of adequate models of RPE.

You should ensure that the make, model, type and size of the facepiece that they wore when they had their successful fit test is made available for their use.

If an employee wears more than one type of tight fitting pieces, then each type of facepiece should be fit tested. Best practice is to repeat every two years.

Contact us

Our dedicated team will be happy to help with any of your extraction and ventilation requirements.