COVID-19: Fit Testing Guidance to avoid coronavirus transmission
- Guidance, information and new developments can be found online at GOV.UK
Face fit testing is an important process used to ensure a tight-fitting respirator fits an individual properly and is able to offer the correct level of protection to the user. While essential for the health and safety of the wearer, face fit testing is a personable procedure that must be performed in reasonably close proximity, seemingly in contradiction with the UK’s current ‘social distancing’ measures.
However, FFP3 respirators are in particular demand during this time – being an essential piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare workers to minimise the risk of infection when tending potentially contagious patients.
With this in mind, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have released detailed fit testing guidance to inform testers and users during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Minimising the risk of transmission when fit testing
- Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or who are self-isolating should not attend a face fit test
- The following additional measures should be taken:
- Both the fit tester and those being tested should wash their hands thoroughly before and after the test
- Those being fit tested with reusable masks should disinfect them thoroughly before and immediately after the test according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Single-use respirators should be thrown away after use and must not be shared by any subjects
- Fit testers should wear disposable gloves when cleaning any fit testing equipment
- To minimise risk, re-testing should only be done if the subject’s circumstances have changed in a way that could alter the fit around their face. For example:
- Extreme weight loss/gain
- Substantial dental work
- Facial changes around the seal area (e.g. scars, moles, wrinkles)
- A change in additional head-worn PPE (e.g. helmet or goggles)
- Fit testers should familiarise themselves with the following potential contact points/actions to minimise the risk of transmission:
For more information, please visit the HSE’s website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/face-mask-ppe-rpe-coronavirus.htm