Under OHS regulations, workers required to use respirators with tight-fitting facepieces must do a seal check before each use to ensure they put the respirator on right and that it’s working properly. Here’s a model procedure instructing workers how to do seal checks that you can adapt for your own use.
REQUIRED USER SEAL CHECK PROCEDURES FOR TIGHT-FITTING RESPIRATORS
Workers who use a tight-fitting respirator must perform a user seal check to ensure that an adequate seal is achieved each time they put the respirator on. Workers must use either the positive or negative pressure checks described below, depending on the situation. Workers may use the seal check method recommended by the manufacturer instead of a positive or negative pressure check if the conditions set out in Section 3 below are met.
- Positive Pressure Check
Close off the exhalation valve and exhale gently into the facepiece. The face fit is considered satisfactory if a slight positive pressure can be built up inside the facepiece without any evidence of outward leakage of air at the seal. For most respirators, this method of leak testing requires the wearer to first remove the exhalation valve cover before closing off the exhalation valve and then carefully replacing it after the test.
- Negative Pressure Check
Close off the inlet opening of the canister or cartridge(s) by covering with the palm of the hand(s) or by replacing the filter seal(s), inhale gently so that the facepiece collapses slightly, and hold the breath for ten seconds. The design of the inlet opening of some cartridges cannot be effectively covered with the palm of the hand. The test can be performed by covering the inlet opening of the cartridge with a thin latex or nitrile glove. If the facepiece remains in its slightly collapsed condition and no inward leakage of air is detected, the tightness of the respirator is considered satisfactory.
- Manufacturer’s Recommended User Seal Check Procedure
ABC Company will let workers when they may use the respirator manufacturer’s recommended procedures for performing a user seal check rather than the positive and/or negative pressure check procedures set forth above. ABC Company will not provide such notification unless it determines and demonstrates that the manufacturer’s procedures are equally effective.
|User seal checks are not a substitute for qualitative or quantitative FIT tests.|