Respirator fit testing performed to determine if an employee can maintain an acceptable respiratory fit and seal.
Fit testing must be done prior to use, whenever a different respirator is worn, and at least annually thereafter (pending).
Fit testing will be administered using an OSHA-accepted qualitative fit test or quantitative fit test protocol.
The employee must be tested with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used.On this page:
When to fit test
Factors affecting respirator seal
Qualitative fit test
Quantitative fit test
Fit test forms
- After subject is medically cleared for respirator use
- Before the subject wears the respirator in the workplace
- Facial changes
- Significant weight change
- Change of respirator size, make, model
- Whenever employee reports a problem with fit
*The OSHA requirement for annual fit testing of respirators in healthcare settings is currently under review.
- Facial hair
- Facial bone structure
- Facial scars
- Excessive makeup
- A pass/fail test to assess the adequacy of respirator fit.
- Relies on the individual's response to the test agent.
No eating, drinking (water is allowed), gum or smoking for 15 minutes prior to test.
Sensitivity test procedure:
- Subject is placed in hood without respirator
- Subject should open mouth and extend tongue
- Subject should breathe through mouth
- Apply 10 bulb squeezes of testing solution into the hood
- DO NOT spray testing solution into the subject’s face
- If subject does not taste fit test solution in 10 squeezes, apply another 10 squeezes
- If subject can’t taste solution by 30 squeezes, use another fit testing solution
- Denatonium benzoate (Bitrex)
- An assessment of the adequacy of respirator fit by numerically measuring the amount of leakage into the respirator.
- Subject should wear respirator for 5 minutes prior to test
- Subject is placed into fit testing hood
- Apply same number of squeezes as in sensitivity test
- Every 30 seconds, introduce additional fit testing solution equal to one-half the number of sensitivity test squeezes
- Normal breathing
- Deep breathing
- Moving head side to side – breathe in at far extreme
- Moving head up and down – breathe in at far extreme
- Speaking – read Rainbow Passage out loud
- Touching toes/jog in place
- Normal breathing
- Compares concentration of dust particles outside respirator to concentration of particles in respirator
- Respirators with tight-fitting facepieces must not be worn by employees who have facial hair or any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal
- Corrective glasses or goggles or other PPE must be worn in a manner that does not interfere with the face-to-facepiece seal
- Employees wearing tight-fitting respirators must perform a user seal check each time they put on the respirator using the procedures in Appendix B-1 or equally effective manufacturer’s procedures
Respirator seal requirements:
Facial hair, jewelry, and glasses must not come into contact with the respirator seal.
- An action conducted by the respirator user to determine if the respirator is properly seated to the face
- User Seal Check Procedures (Mandatory)
Appendix B-1 to Respiratory Protection Standard; facepiece positive and/or negative pressure checks, manufacturer's recommended user seal check procedures. Attention: Non-MDH link
- Qualitative Fit Test (QLFT) Form (PDF: 19KB/1 page)
This form is used by the person performing the fit testing.
Step 7: Maintenance Program