More than 100 fit testers have joined the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) Fit2Fit fit test providers accreditation scheme as they continue to realise the benefits of training to become a competent Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) face fit tester.
The scheme, launched with the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other industry stakeholders in November 2009, aims significantly to reduce occupational respiratory injuries.
David Lummis looks forward to building on progress made by the Fit2Fit scheme this year
The BSIF says accredited providers include: Arco, Breathe Safe Ltd, Kimberly Clark Professional, Health and Safety Laboratory, Fire Safe International, Safety Industries Ltd and DEFRA.
The scheme highlights the need for RPE to be fitted properly after it emerged that such equipment does not always offer the correct level of protection owing to poor fit. Not only is there a moral obligation to protect employees correctly, there are also legal implications, says the BSIF.
UK health and safety regulations stipulate that RPE must be correctly selected and those using it should receive adequate training. If a face seal is necessary, a competent person must conduct an appropriate fit test – and this is one area where it is critical that a careful test is undertaken.
The test confirms the competency of any person performing face piece fit testing once they have passed an exam, followed by a practical assessment. Up until last year, fit testers of RPE were not accredited.
Paul Salisbury, managing director at Fire Safe International, an early adopter of the scheme, said: “All of my staff who may have to conduct a Fit Test were submitted for assessment and this has now become part of my company culture. As new recruits join and gain experience, they in turn are put forward for assessment for both the quantitative and qualitative tests.
“I think in many cases, customers take some assurance from the qualification as it shows that our Fit Test technicians are competent and suitably qualified to provide the service they offer to a nationally recognised standard. I’m proud of Fire Safe International’s involvement and we shall continue to support the scheme for the foreseeable future.”
David Lummis, chief executive at the BSIF, added: “The BSIF is proud of the progress that the Fit2Fit Test Provides Accreditation Scheme has made over the past year and is looking forward to building on its success throughout 2011.”