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15 Oct 2020

Fit2Fit and Face Fitting

Ian Crellin

During the last months we have all seen the media attention on the availability of face masks for workers in healthcare and social services. What the media has not seen and something which I want us all to appreciate is the work being done by the Fit2Fit accredited face fitters in the UK.

For a tight fitting mask to provide protection it needs to be adequate for the hazard and suitable for the individual. To ensure that it is suitable for the individual it must be fit tested for that person. Face Fitters around the country have been working 7 day weeks to try to cover as many people in healthcare as is humanly possible. This task is monumental and I would like to pay tribute and thank them all to a person, for this heroic effort.

Face Fitting can be up close and personal and in these difficult times, a task that carries with risk. The length and breadth of the UK the face fitting activity has gone on and on, just a fantastic effort!

Again we pay tribute to you all.

In some cases where there have been logistical limitations face fitters have created and delivered on – line training with follow up personal telephone support. Training courses have been redesigned to fit available time with refocussing content to reinforce key messages on avoiding cross contamination.

The challenges in healthcare face fitting have been added to with some confusion of guidance on which mask is suitable for what application. Whether there are actually distinct differences in the advice given by Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive or not, the task of the face fitting and reassuring wearers has been fraught.

The government cabinet office team’s objective included a coordinated approach to prioritising face fitting around the UK from a central point. Advice was sought from Fit2Fit on harnessing resource and helping to point it at priority areas, this has not yet been put into action.

As well as dealing with mask supply problems we have had to support the authorities on shortages with components for face fitting kits. While our BSIF members have been doing all that they can to supply kits we have supported, through the Fit2Fit community, alternative manufacturing of fit test taste solution.

When we come out of this COVID 19 crisis it is crystal clear that a strategic approach to face fitting as well as the availability of PPE in Healthcare is absolutely essential for preserving the health of the UK workforces.

 

HSE advises on the importance of fitting respirators correctly

If a respirator is incorrectly fitted, it will not provide you with protection.

If a respirator is incorrectly fitted, it will not provide you with protection.

HSE is advising healthcare workers currently using respiratory protective equipment (RPE) on the importance of ensuring it is fitted correctly.

Tight-fitting respirators rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the RPE can protect the wearer.

If you need to organise a fit tester you can find a list of all accredited fit testers on the scheme website:

www.fit2fit.org

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