Outcomes of a recently completed NIOSH study supports the importance of the OSHA respirator fit testing requirement on a yearly basis and when physical changes have occurred.
Prior to this study, there was very little research focusing on the relationship between respirator fit over an extensive period of time and the change in facial dimensions resulting from weight gain or loss.
The study, Temporal Changes in Filtering-Facepiece Respirator Fit conducted in three years, tested 229 subjects and performed nine fit tests using seven samples of the N95 filtering-facepiece respirator (FFR).
Researchers found that respirator fit change over time and that the greater the weight lose, the higher the chance that respirator fit will change which supports the current OSHA requirement for annual fit testing.
Workers who lose more than 20 pounds since his last fit should also set a fit test to ensure proper fit of respirators.
The study has been published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.