Qualitative Fit Testing

Qualitative Fit Testing

Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant in order to detect leakage into the respirator facepiece

There are two types of fit tests: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses your sense of taste or smell, or your reaction to an irritant in order to detect leakage into the respirator facepiece. OMD follows the OSHA protocols and uses Bitrex as its control.

The qualitative fit test procedure requires about 10 to 15 minutes to administer. Qualitative fit testing may be used for half-face air-purifying respirators (APR) and full-face negative pressure APR as long as there is a fit factor of 100 or less, or as long as the respirators will be worn in work areas where it is known that concentrations of a contaminant will not be more than 10 times the permissible exposure limit (PEL).

The benefits of the qualitative is that its low cost, meets OSHA requirements, several employees can be tested at once saving time and its a simple pass/fail method. However the downside is that it is subjective and can run the risk of the employee not being truthful to whether he or she can taste the Bitrex.

For the Bitrex test, the respiratory therapist or technician challenges an employee wearing a respirator with the test aerosol. The employee dons the respirator and a fit test hood. The test aerosol Bitrex is sprayed inside the hood while the employee performs seven different exercises lasting a minute each. If the employee can taste the test agent, the employee fails the test and another respirator must be tested. Prior to conducting the test, the technician must determine if the employee can detect the test agent thus a sensitivity test is conducted with respirator off and test hood on. If the employee can’t detect the test agent, another one that can be detected must be used.

Still have questions? Our experienced Respiratory Therapist have completed thousands of fit tests per year. Give us a call or send us an email, we will be glad to help.