Since ITW invested in the Portacount 8048 Respirator Fit Tester, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding WHY especially from the more experienced workforce and mostly the same response is….I’ve been doing this for years, never had a test before.

Believe it or not it’s not all about Covid 19 and making sure our wonderful Health Care workers have the correct fitting masks for their safety, fit testing has been around for years.

A Respirator Fit Test is required to meet the standard AS/NZ 1715. The standard requires that a suitable fit test is carried out for all users of Respiratory Protection Equipment.

Reasons your personnel may not have the correct fitting respirator: 

  • Incorrect size, yes, they do come in different sizes.
  • Age, masks will deteriorate over time and require periodic replacement.
  • Condition, poor storage, incorrect donning, doffing techniques… lets face it, most masks are just put away after use and not cleaned to a good hygienic standard.
  • Facial features…..Beards are a no go… sorry guys, even some dental work can affect the fitting of a mask.

What is a fit test you ask? Respirator fit testing uses a Portacount machine to quantitatively [objectively] measure the leakage of a respirator when worn by an individual, thereby assessing whether the respirator is providing an adequate face seal and the required protection.

Who: Health Care workers, we’ve all seen them on the media platforms, paint manufacturers, asbestos removalists, meth / P Lab decontamination, mould remediation, breathing apparatus wearers, sanding, dust and the list goes on, you will be surprise who actually wears this PPE in NZ.

Hit me up with any questions regarding respiratory fit testing, or information about the Portacount and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Stay safe everyone.

Bruce Alsop
Respiratory Compliance Manager ITW