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FAQs- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) > At the current time, for those who have been fit-tested previously, what is the minimum required testing?

At the current time, for those who have been fit-tested previously, what is the minimum required testing?

PPE (Respirator) Fit Testing
posted on 7:20 PM, May 12, 2020

If the employee or healthcare worker has not had any significant weight changes (+/- 20 pounds) or facial changes (e.g., reconstructive surgery, beard) and the manufacturer is the same as when previously fit-tested, OSHA has waived annual fit-testing because of the pandemic. Every respirator user should make sure that they perform a seal check (breathing in and out against a clean gloved hand while wearing the mask) each time they use a filtering facepiece respirator.

If there has been a change in the manufacturer or type of mask, note that size designations are not transferable. At a minimum, a qualitative user seal check should be done to make sure the respirator provides a seal. Ideally, at least a formal qualitative (i.e., non-destructive) fit test should be done when possible to provide further instruction on use and to ensure proper fit for anticipated activities. If an exhalation valve mask is being used, there is the possibility that a SARS-CoV-2 infected user could exhale viral particles. A paper procedure mask or surgical mask placed over the respirator should reduce or eliminate this concern, although it will increase the work of breathing some.

REFERENCES:

Enforcement Memos/Temporary Enforcement Guidance – Healthcare Respiratory Protection Annual Fit Testing for N95 Filtering Facepieces During the COVID-19 Outbreak. United States Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration. March 14, 2020. Accessed on May 6, 2020 at: https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-03-14/temporary-enforcement-guidance-healthcare-respiratory-protection-annual-fit