How Does Your Respirator Fit?

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Respirators are essential to many lines of work, including medical, research, and manufacturing. A respirator has to fit properly, or it will never do what it is supposed to; protect the wearer's breathing passages and lungs. To get respirators to fit, they have to go through rigorous respirator fit testing, and it looks something like this. 

Over the Nose and Mouth

Whether the respirator is fabric or hard plastic, you want it to fit snugly over the nose and mouth. When it fits snugly over the nose and mouth, the respirator passes this part of the test. It means that most (not all) people who wear these respirators will be effectively protected against anything they could accidentally breathe in. 

Straps Fit and Do Not Slip

For anyone who has ever had to wear eyeglass bands to keep their glasses on their faces, you know exactly what this test is about. The bands wrapping around the head, ears, and/or neck of the wearer have to fit. They cannot slip all over the place, forcing the wearer to readjust the straps and the respirator constantly. The straps should also pull tight to hold the respirator's mask portion snugly over the nose and mouth. If the straps do not pass this test, the respirator design is scrapped, or the respirator itself is considered a product failure. 

Filters Should Filter

If you have the type of respirator mask that has filters built into it, then you should have fully functioning and functional filters in the mask. To test this, the respirator testers create a vacuum inside the mask that recreates the effects of human breathing. Then a non-toxic smoke is sprayed in front of the respirator's filter areas on the front of the mask. If the filters fail the test, the testers will see the smoke pass right through the filters into the mask. If the filters pass the test, no smoke at all will pass into the mask, making it safe for a human to test it next.

The human test is the same. Using the same non-toxic smoke to make sure the filters are still as functional as they were a few minutes ago. If the mask's filters pass the second test with a human being wearing the respirator, then the mask passes with flying colors. When all of the components of the respirator do not fail, the respirator is a proper fit. Contact a company like National Fit Test Services for fit services.