11 things you really need to know about the new RPE Fit Testing guidelines


HSE launch new guidance on Respiratory Protective Equipment.

After almost 20 years of service, the HSE’s guidance on Fit Testing RPE (the OC 282/28) has been retired by a new document – the Industry Guidance (INDG) 479 ‘Guidance on respiratory protective equipment (RPE) fit testing.’

In this article we explore the changes and updates to RPE face Fit Testing – for those already familiar with the old regulations outlined in the OC 282/28.

For a more general introduction to Fit Testing, please read our blog: Fit Testing – The Basics.


What’s changed?

Although the OC 282/28 has been in service for 20 years, it was last updated in 2012 and, as such, the general principles of Fit Testing have not changed.

However, several aspects have changed, including terminology, competency qualifiers and timings – which may lead to invalid Fit Tests.

Below we highlight the top changes that practicing Fit Testers need to know:


  • ‘Fit checks,’ or ‘pre-use fit checks,’ are now referred to as ‘pre-use wearer-seal checks’
  • Filtering facepieces are now called ‘disposable half masks’
  • Quantitative Fit Testing (QNFT) is more clearly separated into Ambient Particle Counting (APC) and Controlled Negative Pressure (CNP).



The OC 282/28 gave 14 points of competency for Fit Testers to adhere to. In the INDG 479, this has been increased to 16 points (see page 5).

One point is new to the INDG 479:

  • interpretation of fit test results; (new to the INDG 479)

And one point in the OC 282/28 has now been split into two for clarity:

  • the differences between, and the appropriate use of, QNFT and QLFT methods;
  • the purpose of the fit test exercises;


The Qualitative Fit Test Method (QLFT)

  • Participants are now required to abstain from food, drink (except water), smoke or chew gum for at least 30 minutes before the Fit Test. This was previously 15 minutes in the OC 282/28.
  • If there is a break between the sensitivity/screening test and the Fit Test, the wearer should not eat drink or smoke “during the intervening period.” A “sufficient time between the sensitivity test and the fit test [should be left] for the wearer to clear their palate.”
  • Isoamyl acetate (banana oil) solution is no longer listed as a suitable alternative test method for the Qualitative method.


The Quantitative Fit Test Methods (QNFT)

  • Ball probes and disc probes are no longer required when probing a respirator for the Ambient Particle Counting Quantitative Fit Test.
  • You may no longer perform a Fit Test on P1 or P2 disposable half mask using a fit factor of 25. Instead an N95 technology must be enabled, with a fit factor of 100.



Anything to add?

Spotted something in the INDG 479 we missed? Unhappy with one of the changes? Still not sure how the changes will affect you?

Let us know in the comments below – or get in touch on info@fullsupporthealthcare.com / 01933 672180