What is the difference between quantitative and qualitative face fit testing? Face fit testing is an essential part of keeping employees safe in hazardous environments. It helps to determine the effectiveness of their respiratory protective equipment (RPE), so that informed decisions can be made as to whether it offers adequate levels of protection.
Quantitative and Qualitative Face Fit Testing
When testing your RPE, we use either:
- Qualitative face fit testing (subjective)
- Quantitative face fit testing (measurable)
Both quantitative and qualitative face fit testing methods are widely used for testing RPE. However, the type of test that you choose will depend on your equipment and environment.
Qualitative Face Fit Testing
Qualitative testing can be used to determine the seal quality of disposable half-masks, and it can also be used for re-usable half mask respirator fit tests. It relies on the person’s sense of taste to determine the mask’s effectiveness.
To begin with, the individual will be asked to wear a hood without the mask. The tester will then spray a strong-tasting solution into the hood and ask the person to indicate when they identify it. This will determine how much of the solution will need to be administered in the test.
After this, the person then be required to wear the test mask and the hood whilst performing a variety of movements and light exercises to simulate normal working conditions. If the person can taste the solution, the seal is not effective.