Face Fit Testing

A tight fitting facepiece can be a full-face mask, a half facemask, or a filtering facepiece (commonly referred to as a disposable mask). The performance of those types of facepieces relies heavily on the quality of fit to the wearer’s face, regardless of whether they are used when dealing with negative pressure respirators, power assisted respirators or compressed air supplied breathing apparatus. An inadequate fit will significantly reduce the protection the wearer requires. 

What is face fit testing?

Face fit testing is a method used for checking whether a tight-fitting facepiece matches the person’s facial features and seals adequately to their face. It also helps to discover an incorrectly fitted facepiece that is not appropriate for use.

What is the reason for face fit testing?

Tight-fitting facepieces must achieve suitable contact between the wearer’s skin and the face seal of the facepiece. It is unlikely that one particular type or size of RPE facepiece will fit everybody because no person is likely to have the same facial construction. An inadequate fit of the face-mask will significantly reduce the protection needed for the wearer. Any fault in protection will put the RPE wearer’s life in danger or may lead to immediate or long-term ill health implications.

Face fit testing is also useful for checking whether the wearer can apply a respirator face piece correctly to their face.  Exact fitting of the facepiece is a crucial action and must be considered as a necessity in order to prevent exposure.

When should a fit test be carried out?         

A fit test should be carried out:

1)  As part of the initial selection of the RPE.

2)  Where an untested facepiece is already in use.

When should a repeat fit test be conducted?

A repeat fit test should be conducted in the following circumstances:

1)  Where the wearer:

a) loses or gains weight;

b) undergoes any substantial dental work;

c) develops any facial changes (scars, moles, etc) around the face-seal area;


2)  If the employer’s health and safety policy stipulates a fit test is required.

M.E.L. can provide face fit testing for your employees and provide certificates that demonstrates which masks are suitable.  We can visit your offices or site, this can be undertaken as part of a site inspection.

For more information on this service please contact a member of our experienced consultancy team on 01708 555544, or simply click here to contact us via email.