How Often Should I Conduct Respirator Fit Testing?

 

Whether you’re a compliance officer, HR manager, or anything in between, knowing the facts about OSHA compliance is a must. We’re here to help! A question our team gets is, “How often should I conduct respirator fit testing?” 

The bottom line ─ in any OSHA-regulated industry that requires respirator fit testing, employees must complete fit testing annually. Although your employee’s annual fit test may seem to come up quickly every year, OSHA has good reason to require annual fit testing. Studies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studies have shown that 10% of subjects failed a fit test after one year using the same make, model, and size respirator. This means, after one year, 10% of employees in the field don’t have the right fit and seal to protect them from airborne hazards. By adhering to OSHA standards, you avoid costly fines and provide the protection your employees deserve on the job. 

Respirator fit testing is mandated by OSHA for millions of employees nationwide. A respirator fit test ensures that your employee’s respirator has the right fit and seal to protect them from workplace hazards. No mask is created equal, which is why there are many NIOSH-approved respirators. Every model, manufacturer type, brand, and size will fit each employee differently. After respirator fit testing, you and your employee will have confidence that the chosen respirator is appropriate for your employee’s facial configuration and that it will provide proper protection all year long. 

Why does a respirator’s fit change so frequently? 

Just the way clothes won’t always fit the same year after year, neither will your employee’s respirator. For instance, if an N95 is supposed to protect your employee from 95% of airborne particles, it must fit perfectly. The perfect fit is only possible through respirator fit testing. 

So, what causes these frequent changes? NIOSH research shows that subjects who have lost over 20 pounds or have experienced significant weight gain should prioritize getting fit tested right away. Other life changes that greatly affect a respirator’s fit are pregnancy, dental work, cosmetic surgery, and scarring. 

What Happens If I Don’t Conduct Respirator Fit Testing Annually? 

No one wants to be unprepared when OSHA walks through their doors. Year after year, respiratory protection standard 29 CFR 1910.134 is one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of workplaces by OSHA. Fit testing fines cost $14,502 per violation and can cost up to $145,027 for willful or repeated violations. On-time respirator fit testing and thorough record-keeping are a must, and Mobile Health has your back. We have a 38-year reputation of protecting our partners and their employees. 

How Can Mobile Health Help Me Fit Test My Employees? 

We are the #1 respirator fit testing provider because our flexible solutions are tailored to your needs. We fit test on your schedule, not ours. We go where you need us, not where it’s convenient for us. We can even equip you with the supplies and training to perform fit testing yourself. With us, it’s about what’s best for you.  

Our customizable solutions include: 

  • On-Site Respirator Fit Testing: We bring a team of clinical staff, all testing supplies, and our award-winning technology wherever you need us. We can set up in your breakroom, bring our mobile vans to your parking lot, and operate 24/7 to accommodate everyone’s shift and schedule. From 100 to 100,000 employees, our on-site teams have annual compliance covered.
  • In-Clinic Fit Testing: Mobile Health’s 6,500+ nationwide clinics are ready to fit test your employees tomorrow! The Mobile Health portal powers your annual compliance with 30-second scheduling and real-time results. With our industry-dominating footprint, you’ll have a clinic right in every employee’s neighborhood.
  • FIT KIT™: With our self-administered respirator fit testing solution, your team can become respirator fit testing pros! We send the Mobile Health FIT KIT™ directly to you, fully stocked with all the supplies, training, and certifications necessary for OSHA-compliant fit testing. We conduct live interactive training to teach your staff how to perform fit testing and are always here to answer questions along the way. The Mobile Health FIT KIT™ is the perfect solution for testing new hires and employees who experience pregnancy, significant changes in weight, or have had dental work before their next scheduled annual test. 

Along with our respirator fit testing solutions, we also provide OSHA-required online medical evaluations prior to fit testing to ensure your employee is medically able to wear a respirator. With Mobile Health, your employee can complete their evaluation anytime, anywhere, on any device. After completion, you get real-time results in the Mobile Health portal. And that important OSHA record keeping we mentioned earlier? The Mobile Health portal is your HIPAA-compliant solution to ensure you have the documentation you need on hand, all the time.  

It’s time to simplify respirator fit testing. Partner with Mobile Health to create a seamless path to compliance year after year. Talk to an expert today and design your end-to-end solution for respirator fit testing.