Medical Evaluations and Respirator Fit Testing to Protect Your Safety at Work

If you work in a polluted environment, you may be required to wear a respirator. If so, your employer is legally required to provide regular medical evaluations and respirator fit testing. At our Glendale and Flushing, NY, offices, we provide quick, yet highly accurate occupational health assessments. Our tests will determine whether you are physically capable of wearing a respirator, and if your current respirator properly provides the complete protection you require. At First Med, we are fully compliant with all state and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. When you visit us for testing, you can go back to work feeling confident that your health is in good hands.

Photo of man with respirator on in a smoky room

Do You Need Respirator Clearance and Fit Testing?

A respirator is a special appliance worn over the mouth and nose that prevents users from inhaling dust, chemical fumes, and other irritants found in the environment. Respirators are necessary if you work in low-oxygen conditions or in an environment where it is not possible to reduce the amount of toxins in the air. If you work in specific fields, you may automatically need to wear a respirator per OSHA requirements. Among others, these professions can include:

  • Construction
  • Painting
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Longshoring
  • Firefighting
  • Pesticide manufacturing or distribution

State and federal law obliges your employer to provide respirator clearance and fit testing. As a new employee, you will require these tests. You will also need regular checkups to ensure that your device is in good working order. Additionally, you may need to have your respirator re-fitted if you gain or lose a lot of weight, have facial surgery that could affect the fit of you mask, or have dental work (like dentures) that could alter the fit.

What Happens during Respirator Clearance?

During respirator clearance, a First Med doctor will consider your overall health and how it may affect your ability to wear your apparatus. Among other things, we will evaluate:

  • Your particular job and the irritants to which you are exposed
  • Your working hours and how long you will wear the respirator
  • Environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity
  • Health conditions, like cardiovascular disease, claustrophobia, or lung disease

Your physician will determine whether or not you are cleared to wear a respirator, and will state the need for follow-up evaluations. Finally, your practitioner will provide a copy of your clearance for your employer, excluding any confidential information.

What Happens during Respirator Fit Testing?

Your doctor can perform one of two types of fit tests, depending on the type of respirator that you wear. If you wear a half-mask respirator, we perform a qualitative test. This process will evaluate your senses of taste and smell. If your mask is leaking, you will notice unusual tastes or odors when exposed to specific airborne substances. During a quantitative test, your doctor will determine how much your respirator is leaking, using a special machine. This type of test is appropriate for both half- and full-mask respirators.

If you have a leaking respirator, it could be defective, or you may simply need another type for a better fit. There are many styles, makes, and models available. Our team can help you and your employer find one that will thoroughly protect you on the job.

With our thorough, yet efficient evaluations, you can safely return to your job without taking a lot of time from your busy schedule.

Why Choose First Med for Your Clearance and Testing?

Respirator testing is vital to your health. A properly fitted and functional respirator could save you from cancer, lung disease, and many other potentially fatal conditions. The team at First Med is thoroughly qualified to perform these tests. We are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and understand how to keep employers compliant with OSHA standards. In addition, we are committed to our patients’ safety and convenience. With our thorough, yet efficient evaluations, you can safely return to your job without taking a lot of time from your busy schedule.

Protect Your Health

Wearing appropriate, protective gear at work can help you avoid serious, lasting health conditions. If you require respirator clearance and fit testing, contact First Med Immediate Medical Care today.