Respiratory Protection (Mask Fit Testing)

The respiratory protection program is in place to protect workers from breathing air contaminated with harmful fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, vapors or infectious material. The primary objective is to prevent airborne contamination by:

  • Elimination of the hazard
  • Substitution of less toxic materials
  • Using acceptable engineering controls such as enclosures, confinement of the operation, and ventilation
  • Establishing controls that alter the way the work is done through policies, work practices and timing of work 

When the above options are not feasible in controlling workplace environment airborne contaminants, appropriate respirators must be available for employees. Respirators protect the user by the removal of particulate contaminants from the air (particulate respirators) or by air-purifying respirators that have cartridges/canisters which filter out chemicals and gases. A respirator shall be provided to each employee when such equipment is necessary to protect the health of such employee. The employer shall provide the respirators which are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended. For the selection of appropriate respiratory protection, the Occupational Hygienists can advise on workplace chemicals while Infection Control can advise on the appropriate mask for infectious diseases.

Policy

Mask Fit Testing (N95 and Half Face)

Due to limited resources, do not wait for an emergency situation as the fit testing program staff may not be able to meet your needs. Plan ahead to ensure an adequate number of staff are fit tested to your department staffing needs. Occupational Health Safety & Wellness has changed the way fit testing is organized within Central Zone. FIT testing will now be offered consistently at the Victoria General and Halifax Infirmary every Thursday rotating between the two sites and now offered monthly at the Dartmouth General Hospital on the first Wednesday of the month. FIT testing will also be completed as part of the OHSW pre placement health assessments at the VG site only. New hires will be seen by the Safety Assistant immediately following their appointment with the Occupational Health Nurse. Specialty clinics will still be available however they must be requested by emailing czfittest@nshealth.ca

To book an appointment email czfittest@nshealth.ca and in the email provide the preferred site and date of the preferred clinic.

Records

Departments are required to keep their own records of employees that are fit tested. Safety Programs also has a listing of employee fit test records (Staff Fit Testing Results - 2014) on the ‘restricted resources’ section of the intranet

Accountability

Departments are responsible to:

  • Ensure a respiratory protection program is in place
  • Assess the hazard and determine if respiratory protection is required by contacting Occupational Hygiene for assistance in respirator and cartridge selection
  • Arrange fit testing
  • Ensure employees know the requirements for their protection
  • Establish worksite-specific procedures for respirator use
  • Provide appropriate respiratory protection equipment
  • Maintain records

Resources

Program Contact

Carissa Reardon, Safety Assistant
Occupational Health Safety and Wellness
1276 South Park Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 2Y9
carissa.reardon@nshealth.ca