Healthcare Professionals Are Protected by N95 Mask Fit Testing

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N95 mask fit testing is required to be done biennially (every two years) by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario and by the guidelines set by Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.   Every province in Canada has similar standards and requirements.  The N95 mask meets the legislated standards and has been approved for use by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the USA. Canada has adopted the use of this respiratory protection, which is designed to protect the wearer from respiratory hazards in the workplace. N95 mask fit testing and training is necessary to ensure a proper facial seal in order to protect the wearer from infectious airborne risks. N95 respirators are fluid resistant, disposable and may be worn during surgery and other environments where severe respiratory risks exists including hospitals, nursing homes, community care and most medical offices. However, do not confuse surgical masks to be respirators. N95 is the designation given to a specific efficiency of filtration for the respirator. N stands for "No Oils or Aerosols Present”, while the 95 stands for 95% filtration efficiency.
Fit testing is to be repeated every two years, however, some employers require that employees be fit tested annually. This is because a facial seal is extremely important in protecting the wearer of the respirator and a person may require being refitted for a number of different reasons. A change in one's physical appearance, such as an increase or decrease in weight or change in a person's facial structure may cause someone to need to be refitted for a mask.  Synergy conducts thousands of mask fit tests annually, with a large proportion of fit testing conducted for university and college students as part of their on-going clinical placement requirements.  Our programs are accepted by every employer and educational institution in Ontario, as we strictly adhere to the CSA Standard Z94. 4-02 for the selection, care and use of respirators.

Disposing of Your Respirator

Since the respirators are disposable, they should be discarded after every use. During supply issues or other unique circumstances, specific guidelines about extended use will be given to staff and leaders. Health Canada also recommends that the respirators be disposed of or changed if they become wet, interfere with breathing, or come into contact with blood of bodily fluids. If a respirator becomes contaminated, it becomes biomedical waste, and must be disposed of properly. Otherwise, the respirators can be easily disposed of using a general waste container.

Facial Seal

For men, it is important that they are clean-shaven upon preparing to be fitted for a N95 respirator. In the event that their work environment requires them to be equipped with a respirator, they must mean clean-shaven for the duration of their work. A beard can interfere with your facial seal, leaving you at risk to airborne threats.
N95 mask fit testing is necessary to ensure the protection of our healthcare professionals in situations where infectious airborne risks present themselves. Most importantly, the correct use of N95 masks helps to save lives and protects workplace environments. It is important to find a fit tester that employs a qualitative method of respirator fit testing. This will generally encompass two stages, a sensitivity stage, and a fit testing stage, to ensure that the respective needs of the wearer are well taken care of.   Qualitative N95 Mask Fit Testing is an effective and easy way to ensure compliance and the ongoing safety of your employee's and general public from severe respiratory outbreak.

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Synergy Employment Services
Office: 416.286.1080
Fax: 416.286.1080

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