Fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak

Fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak

Respiratory protective equipment
Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the respiratory protective equipment (RPE) can protect the wearer.

To ensure you put on tight-fitting RPE correctly, use a mirror or ask a colleague. Fit-testers should follow government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from this distance and deliver any instructions verbally.

The user should then carry out a pre-use seal check or fit check. The following poster and video give guidance on how to put on disposable respirators and how to do a pre-use seal check or fit check.

Minimise the risk of transmission
People who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are isolating in accordance with government guidance should not attend a face fit test.

To minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during face-fit testing the following additional measures should be taken:

fit-testers should follow government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from this distance and deliver any instructions verbally
those being fitted should keep their respirators on if closer observation is required to minimise risk to testers
both the fit tester and those being fit tested should wash their hands before and after the test in accordance with NHS guidelines
those being fit tested with non-disposable masks should clean the mask themselves before and immediately after the test using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe (check with manufacturer to avoid damaging the mask)
test facepieces that cannot be adequately disinfected (e.g. disposable half masks) should not be used by more than one individual.
fit testers should wear disposable gloves when undertaking cleaning of the tubes, hoods etc and ensure they remove gloves following the correct procedure
immediately dispose of used gloves, disposable masks, cleaning wipes etc in a waste bin