Respirator Fit-Testing

Originator: Safety and Health Services
Approver: Director of Safety and Health Services, WSH Advisory Committee, WSH Committees
Effective: October 24, 2019
Last Reviewed: New

1.0 Guiding Principles

1.1

Red River College (RRC) is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its staff, students, volunteers and users. Following the Respirator Fit-Testing Safety & Health Services (SHS) Code of Practice is designed ensure that workers/students that are required to wear a respirator while at work are properly fit-tested and trained in the use and care of the respirator.

1.2

This Code of Practice is designed to meet or exceed the minimum requirements of Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Legislation.

2.0 Definitions (if required)

2.1

Air purifying Respirator: A respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element. Air purifying respirators can only be used when adequate oxygen is available. Examples of air purifying respirators are N95, half-face respirators, full-face respirators and Powered Air-purifying respirators (PARP).

2.2

Bioaerosol: A liquid droplet (generated, for example, by coughing, sneezing, or a medical procedure such as bronchoscopy) or a solid particle suspended in the air that is living or originates from living organisms. Bioaerosols include living or dead microorganisms, fragments, toxins and particulate waste products from all varieties of living things. They are capable of causing infection or adverse or allergic response.

2.3

Clean-Shaven: Although the rate of hair growth varies, for many this requires being clean-shaven within the previous 24 or preferably 12 hours to ensure that facial hair neither infringes on the sealing surface of the respirator nor interferes with valve or respirator function. Refer to Appendix G.

2.4

Contractor: A person, who, pursuant to one or more contracts, directs the activities of one or more employers or self-employed persons involved in work at a workplace that is owned or occupied by the College.

2.5

Fit-test: A quantitative or qualitative method to evaluate the fit of a specific make, model and size of respirator on an individual. It consists of completion of a health questionnaire, training on the use and care of the respirator, how to perform a user seal check, and obtain a satisfactory fit with an air-purifying respirator. RRC only fit-tests using the quantitative fit-test method.

2.6

Fit-tester: A qualified person through experience and training to conduct accurate and appropriate fit-tests for respirators.

2.7

Full-face Respirator: An air-purifying respirator that forms a tight seal and covers the entire face and chin (providing a higher level of protection while protecting the eyes and face).

2.8

Half-face Respirator: An air-purifying respirator that forms a tight seal and covers the nose and chin.

2.9

N95: NIOSH classification for particulate filter effective against particulate aerosols free of oil. Ex. Healthcare settings use N95 air-purifying respirators for protection against bioaerosols.

2.10

NIOSH: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the United States federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIOSH is recognized internationally as the main approval body for respiratory protective equipment and as such is referenced in the CSA standard.

2.11

P100: NIOSH classification for particulate filters effective against all particulate aerosols. Ex. P100 filters are attached to air-purifying respirators.

2.12

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Refers to any equipment and or clothing used by an individual to minimize exposure to a specific occupational hazard. PPE is used when a hazard itself cannot be removed or controlled adequately. PPE does not eliminate or reduce the hazard, nor does it guarantee total protection. PPE may include items such as gloves, safety glasses, shoes, hearing protection, hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests and full body suits. Refer to Personal Protective Equipment Code of Practice SHS-1 for more information.

2.13

Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR): An air-purifying respirator that filters out contaminates in the air with the use of a powered blower. PAPR’s are only issued for use through SHS for medical or religious accommodations.

2.14

Quantitative Fit-test: A fit-test method that uses an instrument to assess the amount of leakage into the respirator in order to assess the adequacy of the respirator fit. RRC only uses quantitative fit-test methods.

2.15

Safety and Health Services (SHS): A mandated department responsible for providing a safe environment for staff, students and visitors. SHS works in conjunction with Academic programs, Facility Maintenance, Security Services and the Workplace Safety and Health Committee.

2.16

Supervisor: A person who is in charge of a workplace or has authority over a worker (Ex. Chair, Manager, Instructor, Director, etc).

2.17

User Seal Check: An action conducted by the respirator user to determine if the respirator is properly fitted to the face prior to each use.

2.18

Worker: Any person who is in an employment relationship with the College and includes:

2.18.1

Any person who is employed by the College to perform a service whether for gain or reward or not;

2.18.2

Volunteers;

2.18.3

Students.

2.19

Workplace Safety and Health Committee (WSHC): An established group consisting of both management and worker representation committed to improving safety and health conditions and acting as a resource among the Red River College Community.

3.0 Requirements and Considerations (if required)

3.1

All workers that have the potential to be exposed to bioaerosols, chemical vapours, fumes and airborne particles at levels that require a respirator shall be fit-tested and trained on the proper use and care of air-purifying respirators.

3.2

Workers MUST be clean-shaven where the seal of the respirator comes in contact with the skin on the face or neck. Workers and students who present with facial hair that interferes with the seal will be advised that they cannot be fit-tested.

3.2.1

Students will be charged for a missed fit-test due to inability to test due to facial hair.

3.3

Quantitative fit testing using the PortaCount Plus fit-test system is performed on N95, full-face and half-face air-purifying respirators. Fit factors are determined by comparing the particle concentration outside the respirator with the concentration inside the respirator face piece. An acceptable fit is achieved when the respirator wearer successfully completes a series of programmed exercises (normal breathing, deep breathing, moving head up and down, moving head side to side, reading, bending over while standing up and normal breathing) with a fit factor of 100 or more.

3.4

Workers that are successfully fit-tested will be issued a fit-test card that states the type of respirator they were fit-tested for, the manufacturer, model, size, date of the fit-test, retest date and fit-tester.

3.5

Workers will be provided with a brochure at the end of a successful fit-test highlighting topics discussed during the fit-test. Refer to Appendices C, D and E.

4.0 Procedure (if required)

4.1

Respirator fit-tests will be scheduled through SHS. It is important that workers and students are on time for their appointments and inform SHS if they are unable to attend their fit-test prior to their appointment. Refer to Appendix G for information communicated to workers/students during fit-test appointment booking. Refer to Figure BH for information on acceptable and unacceptable facial hair examples.

4.2

Students will be responsible to paying $40 for each respirator fit-test they require (N95, Half-face and Full-face) and $80 for PAPR appointments. Refer to Appendix B for payment process flow-chart.

4.3

Workers/students must avoid eating, drinking (other than water), smoking and chewing gum for at least 30 min prior to the fit-test.

4.4

Workers/students will complete a questionnaire to determine a workers ability to be fit-tested prior to the fit-test occurring. See Appendix A for PAPR fit-test questionnaires.

4.5

Respiratory Protection exemptions to accommodate religious beliefs or for medical reasons may be implemented if recognized by Workplace Safety and Health. A full assessment of the occupational hazard(s) shall be conducted prior to a Respiratory Protection Program exception being considered. Exemptions will not be considered or implemented if it increases the risk of injury or illness.

4.5.1

Staff requesting an accommodation for medical or religious belief should refer to Appendix H and I.

4.5.2

Students requesting an accommodation for medical or religious belief should refer to Appendix H and I.

4.6

PAPR’s will only be obtained through SHS if a Medical or religious accommodation form is submitted and approved prior to needing a PAPR. Requests for a PAPR are done by the same process as booking a respirator fit-test.

4.7

Respirator fit-testing must be done every two (2) years or whenever there is a significant change in facial structure or a significant weight loss or gain.

4.8

Students will be required to present their valid fit-test card to their instructors or work placements prior to being allowed to perform tasks that require a respirator.

5.0 Responsibilities (if required)

5.1

Departments or Programs will:

5.1.1

Take all precaution necessary to protect the safety and health of a worker under his or her supervision.

5.1.2

Ensure that a worker or student under their supervision, follows RRC Policies, SHS Codes of Practice, Safe Work Procedures, and WSH Act and Regulations.

5.1.3

Ensure that a worker under their supervision uses all devices and wears all clothing and PPE designated or provided by the employer.

5.1.4

Advise all workers of respirator fit-testing requirements prior to work assignments that require a respirator.

5.1.5

Advise students of respirator requirements before course or assignment commencement.

5.1.6

Refer to the Respiratory Protection Program Code of Practice SHS-2 for complete Respiratory Protection Program requirements.

5.2

Supervisors will:

5.2.1

Take all precaution necessary to protect the safety and health of a worker under his or her supervision.

5.2.2

Ensure that a worker or student under their supervision, follows RRC Policies, SHS Codes of Practice, Safe Work Procedures, and WSH Act and Regulations.

5.2.3

Ensure that a worker under their supervision uses all devices and wears all clothing and PPE designated or provided by the employer.

5.2.4

Arrange fit-testing for their workers/students that are required to wear respirators.

5.2.5

Refer to the Respiratory Protection Program Code of Practice SHS-2 for complete Respiratory Protection Program requirements.

5.2.6

Ensure that fit-testing and training are completed prior to assigning a worker/student any task that requires the use of a respirator.

5.2.7

Inform students of their respirator fit-testing requirements prior to them starting their courses.

5.3

Worker/Student will:

5.3.1

Follow RRC Policies, Codes of Practice, and Safe Work Procedures.

5.3.2

Attend respirator fit-testing (N95, Half-face and/or full-face) as appropriate for the type of hazard to which they are exposed.

5.3.3

Be clean-shaven where the seal of the respirator comes in contact with the skin on the face or neck in order to be fit-tested unless a religious accommodation form is completed and approved. (Appendix H and I).

5.3.4

Wear the appropriate respirator as required to perform their work safely in accordance with the instructions and training received.

5.3.5

Wear only the respirator for which they have been successfully fit-tested.

5.3.6

Attend a PAPR appointment and care for the PAPR while in their possession as per training received during a PAPR appointment.

5.4

Safety and Health Services will:

5.4.1

Develop and maintain a current list of accepted respirators for use at RRC.

5.4.2

Provide quantitative fit-testing opportunities for workers required to wear a respirator.

5.4.3

Upon request provide information to supervisors regarding the fit-test status of their workers

5.4.4

Work with industry to ensure the respirators that are used for fit-testing at RRC match industry requirements (e.x Ensuring nursing students are fit-tested for provincially chosen N95 air purifying respirator).

5.4.5

Maintain fit-test questionnaires, Medical and Religious accommodation forms for all workers/students.

5.4.6

Train new fit-testers to ensure accuracy of fit-tests.

5.4.7

Manager PAPR’s required for medical or religious accommodations.

5.5

Health Services will:

5.5.1

Provide further assessment prior to fit-testing if a worker/student or fit-tester has concerns about the ability of the user to wear a respirator. Health Services will notify SHS if a fit-test can occur after this assessment is performed.

5.6

Workplace Safety and Health Committee will:

5.6.1

Review and provide feedback on department specific Operational Procedures

5.6.2

Perform workplace inspections and document any discrepancies with respirator usage.

6.0 References (if required)

6.1

Government of Manitoba. (2002). The Workplace Safety and Health Act – W210.

6.2

Government of Manitoba. (2006). The Workplace Safety and Health Regulation – 217/2006. Part 6.15

6.3

CSA standards Association: Standard Z94.4-11 Selection, Use and Care of Respirators

6.4

Red River College’s Safety Policy – E1

6.5

Red River College Personal Protection Equipment Code of Practice – SHS-1

6.6

Red River College Respiratory Protection Program Code of Practice – SHS-2

Appendices