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Reducing respirator fit-test errors: a multi-donning approach.

Campbell D; Coffey C; Jensen P; Zhuang Z
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :97
Because fit-testing is the only assurance that an individual has an adequately protecting respirator, the error rates of current fit-tests are of concern. Previous laboratory studies with filtering-facepiece respirators have found significant fit-test error rates. The alpha error (failing a respirator/subject combination that should pass) ranged from 51 to 84 percent. The beta error (passing a respirator/subject combination that should fail) ranged from 3 to II percent. High error rates can result in individuals being assigned inadequately fitting respirators. These high errors also cause the fit-tests to yield inconsistent results which can cause the meaningfulness of the test to be questioned. In order to reduce the alpha and beta error inherent in current fit-test methods, a new approach to fit-testing filtering-facepiece respirators is proposed for consideration. Unlike current fit-tests which use a single donning of the respirator, the proposed test involves multiple donnings in order to reduce the element of chance in the fit-test result. And, unlike current fit-tests that measure only face seal leakage, the proposed test is based on a measurement of total leakage (faceseal plus filter). Utilizing total respirator leakage can result in simpler, quantitative fit-test instrumentation and a fit-test that is more relevant to the workplace. Analysis is presented that indicates the proposed multi-donning fit-test has the potential to simultaneously reduce both the alpha error and the beta error to half that of current fit-tests.
Respiratory-equipment; Laboratory-testing; Filters; Leak-prevention; Respirators; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment
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Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division