About Fit Testing
Respirators are pieces of personal protective equipment that provide respiratory protection against airborne contaminants. Respirators will either filter the ambient air (for example, N-95, PAPR, or half-mask air purifying respirators) or they will provide clean breathing air for the employee (for example, SCBA and air-line respirators).
Every person's face is different, and respirators are NOT one size fits all. A respirator that does not fit provides no protection and can actually be more dangerous than not wearing a respirator. To make sure your respirator fits correctly to provide you with adequate protection, all employees wearing a respirator must be fit tested on an annual basis. Fit testing is a service provided by the Occupational Safety Program.
Because a respirator is being placed on a person's face and can make breathing more difficult, UTMB must make sure that employees are healthy enough to wear a respirator. Medical conditions such as severe asthma, COPD, and emphysema can make the wearing of a respirator unsafe for an employee. Before any employee can be fit tested and wear a respirator, they must first be medically evaluated by a licensed healthcare professional. Respirator medical evaluations of UTMB employees is a service provided by the Employee Health Clinic.