If you’ve been responsible for conducting any respirator fit testing for your employees, you know how painstaking and lengthy they can be. Fortunately, the newest OSHA-approved Fast Fit protocols for quantitative fit testing are here to help change that for the better.
Fast Fit Protocols
Two new quantitative fit test methods have been approved for use by OSHA and they are faster and easier than any of their predecessors. Each is a modified Ambient Air Condensation Nuclei Counter (CNC) Quantitative Fit Test Protocol meant for a different style of respirator
These protocols can save you time and money as you ensure proper respirator face fit for all of your employees and they can do that without losing any effectiveness. Here’s a glance at each:
Fast Full- and Half-Face Protocol
This method is designed to test full-facepiece elastomeric respirators and is designed for those in industries that require such masks like firefighters, military personnel, chemical industry employees, first responders, and more. The same protocol is used for half-face elastomeric respirators, which are used by many industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, agriculture, pesticide, remediation contractors, and many more
This method varies slightly from the elastomeric respirator methods and is designed specifically for fit-testing filtering facepiece respirators such as disposable N95 respirators.
OSHA, ANSI, and The Timeline
TSI first applied for the inclusion of these new testing protocols after independent research suggested they were safe and effective. The new face fit methods were variations of the existing protocols meant to shorten the testing time for each user.
One of the first steps in the approval process was the evaluation of each of the new methods against the ANSI standards as outlined in the ANSI Annex. Each Fast Fit protocol had to meet the criteria in the following areas:
- Test Sensitivity
- Predictive Value of a Pass
- Predictive Value of a Fail
- Test Specificity and Kappa Statistics
Only when these ANSI standards were met would OSHA consider the protocols for approval.
Upon review of the data in the ensuing years, OSHA determined that each new protocol was within the acceptable range of the ANSI standards and could be considered for approval. OSHA looked into adding these protocols to the list of approved quantitative fit test methods rather than replacing the old test protocols completely.
September 26, 2019
After several rounds of final review, OSHA accepted the Fast Fit protocols. They were added to 1910.134 Appendix A as approved methods for respirator fit testing. In Federal OSHA states, these protocols became immediately acceptable.
How Do The Fast Fit Protocols Differ?
To reduce test time, the Fast Fit protocols define one of two variations to the previously accepted quantitative fit test methods. Both methods reduce test time by 65% from 7.2 minutes to 2.5 minutes.
For full facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, the Fast Fit quantitative protocol shortened the exercise portion of the test. It did this by eliminating the bulk of the exercises from the protocol. The 3 exercises that remain are:
- Bending Over
- Head side-to-side
- Head up-and-down
To make up for the 4 removed exercises, this method adds a new exercise to the mix:
These changes reduce the exercise portion of the test from 60 seconds to just 30 seconds.
Filtering Facepiece Respirators
For disposable filtering facepiece respirators, the Fast Fit quantitative protocol also removed exercises to include 4 of the original 7.
What This Means For You:
Fast Fit and AccuTec
AccuTec takes your employees’ health and safety very seriously. We also understand time is a valuable commodity in your world. We’ve made sure that our AccuFIT9000 Quantitative Fit Testers are capable of performing OSHA’s new Fast Fit protocols for all types of respirators. And we’ve done it at a fraction of the price of our competitors.
Our flagship quantitative face fit test machine, the AccuFIT9000 is capable of conducting both the Fast-Full full facepiece elastomeric fit test and the Fast-Half half mask elastomeric fit test.
If you need to test disposable filtering facepiece respirators with the Fast-FFR, our AccuFIT9000 PRO is the right machine for you. In addition to the complete capability of fit testing all elastomeric full-and half-face respirators, the PRO incorporates a unique device (DMC) that enables the PRO to fit test all disposable respirator facepieces such as the N95 which are widely used in North America and other countries and the FFP1, 2, and 3 series in Europe.
Check out our Face Fit Solutions
Come see how AccuTec is turning the industry on its head with more advanced, less expensive quantitative fit testers. Not only do we have the most up-to-date equipment that can fit test any respirator on the market, but we also have the best customer service in the game. Let us be your fit test partners.