What is a Qualitative face fit test?...
Qualitative face fit testing (QLFT), also know n as the “taste test” relies on the RPE wearers taste response to detect inward leakage of the Respiratory Protective Equipment’s (RPE), i.e. to test the efficiency of the seal to the face. This test method tests give a subjective indication of the face fit, i.e. a pass or fail result.
Qualitative face fit testing uses relatively simple equipment known as a “face fit test kit” that consists of a hood, two nebulizers and two bottles of solution. The basic principal of a QLFT is that once we have established the wearers ability to recognise the taste of the test agent, they are surrounded by a strong-tasting aerosol of the test agent. The test agent cannot physically penetrate a particle filter therefore if the RPE wearer tastes the solution, the RPE has not created or maintained an effective seal to the face. Whilst the theory is simple, the test itself is much more detailed and must be undertaken thoroughly and robustly by a competent person.
This method is less accurate than a Quantitative (QNFT) face fit test and relies on both the ability of the wearers taste, their integrity, and the competence of the tester. When completed thoroughly and robustly, it is more than effective at proving the suitability / seal of half face RPE to the wearers face.
QLFT can only be utilized on half mask respirators offering a degree of particulate protection i.e. FFP2 / FFP3 / P3 … it can be used on either reusable or disposable devices BUT SHOULD NOT BE USED on full face RPE.
To perform the test, firstly, we must establish the RPE wearers ability to taste the agent. Once the initial taste has completely disappeared, and with the mask worn correctly; the wearer is expected to perform a series of exercises whilst surrounded by a much stronger version of the original solution, hence the need for the hood to keep the aerosol around the wearers breathing zone. If they taste the solution, this indicates a failed result, if no taste is apparent then it appears to be a pass result.
Advantages and disadvantages Vs Quantitative face fit testing include…
The test relies on taste, some people cannot recognise the taste.
It relies on the integrity of the person being tested...
A false pass or false fail result can be manipulated.
QLFT equipment is relatively inexpensive to purchase.
No power source is required, it is easy to transport and quick to set up.
Testers can be trained how to conduct this method “in house”*
Disposable RPE can be issued to the wearer after the test**
It is only applicable to half face RPE, not full face.
*Please see our Fit2Fit approved “Train the Tester” Course if this is of interest.
** With QNFT, disposable RPE is spoiled.
Face fit testing must be undertaken by a competent person; here at 1974 we are externally assessed by the BSIF Fit2Fit accreditation scheming in both QNFT, QLFT & QLFT “Train the Tester”. Our credentials can be verified here https://www.fit2fit.org/
All testing undertaken by 1974 Rapport is strictly in line with current best practice detailed within HSE INDG479 and the accompanying Fit2Fit Companion.
For further information, to make a booking or to receive some competent advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.