Whether the concern has been spurred by the recent Ebola news, Enterovirus (EV-D68), or the impending flu season, healthcare infectious control teams and first responders are currently showing a heightened awareness for the importance of personal protection gear.
But it’s also important to remember that having the proper respirator is only part of the answer. Ensuring proper wear and fit is critical in preventing the spread of infection to hospital staff, patients, and their visitors.
Statistics shown during a recent presentation from the CDC and NIOSH show that properly-fitting N95 respirators show virtually no transmission of flu virus. Even N95 respirators with poor fit will filter out approximately 86% of the virus, while surgical masks can filter out about 50% of the aerosolized influenza.
So, it may be time to consider reviewing your fit testing procedures, and making sure your fit tests are up to date, with accurate, verifyable results. Here are a couple of tips to get the best fit from your masks:
- Follow the manufacturer’s donning and doffing procedures for your mask type, as each is specific to that particular model.
- Be sure to perform the OSHA five-minute user assessment comfort check and one-time user seal check. This ensures that the wearer has the best fit prior to performing the fit test. The five minute timeframe allows moisture from the wearer’s breathe and oil from their skin to aid in a better, more realistic seal.
Remember, for OSHA-approved quantitative fit test results of N-95 respirators, you’ll need to use a TSI PortaCount Pro 8038 fit test system.
Are you already using the TSI PortaCount Pro for fit testing?
There’s a new, easier-to-use version of the fit test software available. Along with making databases easier to merge and manage, it gives you the ability to connect and test with up to four PortaCount units at once, so it can dramatically reduce your testing time.
FitPro+ works with the current TSI models 8030 and 8038 plus the older PortaCount Plus models. I wrote a blog post about this a while back, covering a few of the most important features of FitPro+ 3.0.
Download the FitPro software and the associated firmware update for your PortaCount Pro models so you can take advantage of the new software features.
Learn more about respirator fit testing
- Read the OSHA 1910.134 specification
- TSI PortaCount Pro series quantitative respirator fit test systems
- TSI QFit qualitative respirator fit test systems
- TSI MITA mask integrity test accessory
- Other posts about respirator fit testing
RAECO-LIC LLC is the authorized TSI representative in the Midwest United States. If you’re looking to improve your fit testing, we may be able to help.