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January 2020

Protect Against the Coronavirus With Respirator Fit Testing

By | Blog Post

Both CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) have now recognized the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak as being serious. One of the more concerning developments is the fact that 2019-nCoV has shown to be capable of human-to-human transmission. This was first documented in this country today, January 30, 2020, in Chicago where a recently returned visitor from China has infected her husband.

Because of this demonstrated ability of the new virus to effect human-to-human transmission, CDC has issued guidelines for health professionals which can be accessed at the bottom of this page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

One of the recommendations the CDC Document mentions is the use of respiratory protection. Typically, healthcare facilities use N95 Filtering Facepieces (FFP’s) or powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR’s). PAPR’s need to be cleaned and disinfected after each use, while FFP’s are discarded after each exposure to airborne pathogens, so the chances are greater that N95 FFP’s will be the respiratory protection devices of choice.

AccuTec-IHS would like to remind users that it is imperative that fit testing in accordance with 29CFR 1910.134 be performed for each user of the tight-fitting respirators (in this case N95 FFP’s). From personal experience we can state that even though the techniques of donning, testing, and wearing an N95 FFP appear to be logical and straightforward, in reality if the user has not been adequately trained, the mask is worse than useless because it imparts a false sense of security to the wearer. This training should incorporate a Quantitative Fit Testing device where real-time and completely objective measurements can show the user graphic proof of protection while the mask is being adjusted to fit. (This real-time information is for training purposes and does not constitute a fit test.)

OSHA has recently approved a much faster Quantitative Fit Test protocol for the filtering facepieces (N95) which takes less than three minutes to perform. A legal Qualitative (i.e., subjective fit test) requires about twenty-three minutes. 

The AccuFIT9000 is capable of testing many of the commonly used N95 masks.

Please contact us to determine if the AccuFIT 9000 is suitable for your fit testing requirements.