Qualitative or Quantitative?

First, a fit check by a qualified person must be performed annually and the employee must be medically cleared before the fit check is performed regardless of the type of fit check being performed.  A qualitative fit check is performed using a substance requiring the employee to respond if the substance can be smelled.  A quantitative fit check utilizes a procedure where a fit factor is established.  Next, which type of fit check should we be doing?  If the respirator is being worn for protection from pesticides then a QLFT will be acceptable for negative pressure (cartridge or filter) respirators.

CCR T3 6739

 “QLFT is acceptable for all negative pressure tight-fitting half or full facepiece respirators used in the application of pesticides”.

A QLFT cannot be used if you are using the respirator for protection from hazards which are not pesticides.  The regulation for non pesticide hazards concerning fit checks is slightly different. 

CCR Title 8 5144.

“QLFT may only be used to fit test negative pressure air-purifying respirators that must achieve a fit factor of 100 or less”.

Now we need to determine which respirators need to have a fit factor over 100.

Again CCR Title 8 5144

“If the fit factor, as determined through an OSHA-accepted QNFT protocol, is equal to or greater than 100 for tight-fitting half facepieces, or equal to or greater than 500 for tight-fitting full facepieces, the QNFT has been passed with that respirator.”

Based on this regulation it appears that a full face respirator for any chemical other than pesticides requires us to have a QNFT and to pass the Quantitative Fit Check the full face respirator would need to have a fit factor of 500.

CCR Title 8 5144.

“Fit factor means a quantitative estimate of the fit of a particular respirator to a specific individual, and typically estimates the ratio of the concentration of a substance in ambient air to its concentration inside the respirator when worn”

To finish up with an interesting thought.  There are several chemicals which are used as pesticides and also used for other purposes in the same location.  If negative pressure respiratory protection is needed a QNFT will be required for the non-pesticide handling while a pesticide handler can be fit tested using a QLFT.  

Thanks for reading, have a great and safe day!