What Can Change the Fit of Your Respirator?

Why is it so important to fit test annually? The obvious is that it’s required by OSHA… but they require it for a good reason ─ our bodies change year to year, significantly effecting the fit of our respirators. A NIOSH study has shown that 10% of subjects failed a fit test after 1 year using the same make, model, and size respirator. That means 10% of your workforce will need a different respirator every year to adequately protect them in the workplace. So, what causes these changes in respirator fit? We’ll go over the most common factors that can change the fit of your respirator.


Weight gain is the most common cause for a change in your respirator’s fit. A gain or loss of 20 or more pounds causes significant changes to your facial structure. Even if it’s pregnancy weight gain or loss, it can have an effect on your respirators fit. These changes happen over time, while on the other hand, dental procedures, cosmetic surgery, and scarring can change the fit of your respirator overnight.

If your employee’s respirator is now loose, sitting differently on their cheek bones, jaw, or nose, that perfect seal is now broken, leaving them exposed to airborne hazards in your workplace. Remind your employees that if they are not confident in their respirator, they need to let you know. It may be time to find a different make, model, or size for their respirator. Always check-in with your people from time to time to keep everyone protected. If you’re in need of a quick fit test, we’re here for you.


Mobile Health provides 4 different ways for fast fit testing. If you need to test a group of employees, send the on-site fit testing team. If you have an employee that has experienced a change in their respirators fit, we have 6,500+ clinics with next-day appointments. If you’d like to have something on hand for future use, we can send you our all-in-one Fit Kit™. We send you all supplies and certifications and train you to perform respirator fit testing for your employees in-house. All of our solutions come with online medical evaluations for easy clearance and OSHA compliance.

We are the 38-year experts with diverse, flexible solutions to make qualitative fit testing and quantitative fit testing easy for your organization. Talk to an expert to find out which solution works best for you.