• Kyle Durward

HSE enforcement action on RPE face fit testing

As part of a recent investigation HSE has found that Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust breached health regulations on RPE worn by staff during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investigation was conducted after the tragic death of FGH radiographer Simon Guest from the virus in April 2020. Morecambe Bay Trust was given formal written advice after it was found that not all persons had received adequate face fit testing to ensure that tight fitting respirators, worn as personal protective equipment for certain procedures, seal adequately to the wearer’s face.

The Approved Code of Practice for COSHH 2002 requires that tight fitting RPE should be fit tested as part of the selection process, to ensure there is an adequate seal between the selected RPE and the wearer’s face. Inadequate fit will significantly reduce the protection provided to the wearer.

It is the duty holder’s responsibility to ensure that any tight fitting RPE used by an employee is correctly fit tested by a competent individual.

Competency can be demonstrated by accreditation under the Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme. This scheme has been developed by the BSIF, together with industry stakeholders, and is supported by HSE. The scheme is not compulsory, and employers are free to take other action to comply with the law.

HSE will take enforcement action where it finds a duty holder has not taken the necessary steps to ensure proper fit testing is conducted.

See HSE's guidance on respiratory protective equipment (RPE) fit testing.

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