by Wendy Loomis
Occupational Health Account Manager

Ensuring that employees are protected from inhaling harmful contaminants requires annual medical clearance and testing to meet OSHA standards.  Annual testing is a 2-step process that entails:

  1. Respirator Medical Clearance – Each employee must obtain a respirator medical clearance from a certified physician. The responses to the questions regarding respirator type and work conditions allows the physician to determine if the employee can fulfill his work duties while wearing a respirator.
  2. Fit Testing – Once a respirator medical clearance is obtained, the employee must also pass a test designed to confirm the respirator being used provides a seal guarding against contaminants entering the employees lungs.

The EI Group’s Occupational Health team is here to help you as a one-stop option to fulfill your annual respirator protection commitments regarding respirator medical clearances and fit testing.

Annual Medical Clearances
EI offers annual medical clearances through our online tool; Respirator Assessor.  Each employee’s questionnaire is reviewed by our Certified Occupational Health Physician and a written clearance notification is sent to both the employee and the employer; including any need for additional follow-up medical evaluations. All clearance and testing documents are retained and available online.

Respirator Fit Testing
There are 2 types of fit testing; qualitative and quantitative.  Each type uses scientifically proven methods to measure respirator face-seal leakage. In addition to each test certification, an Occupational Health Specialist also provides the following services:

  • Respirator condition evaluation;
  • Proper adjustment and fit of respirator mask;
  • Negative and Positive pressure seal check of mask; and
  • Refresher training on the use and responsibilities of respirator use.

Qualitative Fit Testing
This method tests to ensure respirators have a seal with no leakage by using a head enclosure, a series of 6 exercises and a tasting agent of either Saccarin Aerosol or Bitrex Aerosol.

Qualitative FIT testing can be used for Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFR’s); most commonly an N95 or half-face respirators. Do not use an N95 that is not certified/approved by NIOSH.

Quantitative Fit Testing
This method of testing employs OSHA approved CNP (Controlled Negative Pressure) technology to determine seal-leakage and provides a FIT Factor as certification of the seal.  Quantitative testing can be used for half-face respirators and is required for full-face or SCBA respirators. The same “pre-test” checks mentioned above are also provided for quantitative fit testing.

How Can We Help?

If you need help conducting your annual respiratory protection initiatives, or have other occupational health concerns, please contatct Wendy Loomis at (919) 459-5265 or [email protected].