Fit testing your Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

WorkAble offers a fit testing service for all businesses using Respiratory Protective Equipment in Tairāwhiti (Gisborne region), Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.

When do I need to provide Respiratory Protective Equipment?

If your employees are exposed to hazardous substances, it may be necessary to provide them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is ensures your employees do not inhale anything that could negatively impact their health.


Why is fit testing required?

If you are providing Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), fit testing is required to ensure it fits properly and is effectively protecting your employees.


Airborne hazards that should be protected against include dust, mist, vapour and gas (including airborne hazards such as wood dust or solvent vapours). If you work with these substances it’s important to provide your employees with the correct RPE so that their health is protected.


Airborne hazards can have significant short and long term impact on employee health. In the short term this can include headaches and forgetfulness, drowsiness, feeling dizzy or sick, mood changes, and eye or skin irritation. In the long term exposure to airborne hazards could cause sleep disorders, memory loss, cancer, organ damage, fertility problems or death.


How often should I be carrying out fit testing?

Once you have identified the need to protect your employees, it’s important to choose the right equipment and ensure it has been fit-tested. Fit testing is recommended for all facepieces as part of the AS/NZS 1715 Standard.


Fit testing of all facepieces should be carried out:

  • Prior to first use
  • Whenever there is a change in the characteristics of the wearer’s face that could impact the fit of the RPE*
  • Annually.

AS/NZS 1715 Standard fit testing requirements do not apply to powered air purifying respirators and supplied air respirators with loose fitting facepieces, hoods or helmets.


*The fit of the RPE can be affected by facial hair and stubble, jewellery, glasses, long hair or make up, or weight loss or gain. If your employee changes their facial characteristics it is your responsibility to carry out fit testing to ensure their RPE is still working.


What fit testing service does WorkAble provide?

WorkAble provide qualitative fit testing services to businesses across Tairāwhiti (Gisborne region), Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.

Qualitative fit testing uses an aerosol that creates a flavour that the RPE wearer is exposed to while wearing their mask. The wearer is exposed to a managed level of the aerosol and performs a series of exercises including head movements, talking and breathing exercises.


If the wearer completes the test without detecting the taste of the aerosol, the fit test is considered a pass. If at any point during the test the wearer detects the taste of the aerosol, the fit test is terminated. Repeated failures indicate that an alternative size or model of respirator should be used.


We fit test for free when you book our Spirometry service.

WorkAble is focused on making it easier for you to look after your team. We recognise that most employees who need to be fit tested for Respiratory Equipment also need to have their health monitored. So we’ve combined our services into an easy to book package that reduces downtime and makes it simple to manage your occupational health commitments.


When you book our Spirometry testing service, we can fit test your RPE for free. Because both Health Monitoring and fit testing need to be carried out on an annual basis, that allows you to manage all your obligations in one go.


Remember we’re also mobile and come to you. Wherever you’re based, across Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty or Gisborne, our mobile service allows us to come to you which reduces downtime and therefore the cost of fit testing and health monitoring.


Find out more about our full range of Health Monitoring services here.

Contact us today to book fit testing for your team.

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