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Fit Testing – Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to be clean shaven when wearing Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)?

Answer. Yes, any individual wearing tight fitting RPE must be clean shaven in the area of the seal and the face. Tight fitting means any RPE face piece / mask which relies on a seal being created between the wearer’s skin and the mask itself.

More information available:

Guidance on RPE Fit Testing

Guidance on Qualitative Fit Testing 

What RPE does not require face fitting?

Answer. Loose fitting RPE such as hoods, helmets, blouses and suits, available as powered respirators or suits

More information available:

Respiratory Protective Equipment at work

What happens if you wear tight fitting Respiratory Equipment and you are not clean shaven?

Answer.  If the wearer is not clean shaven the integrity of the seal is undermined and the wearer will not be protected from the hazard. It is essential that a wearer is clean shaven in the area of the seal of the face piece. If you would like more information on the effects of stubble please click the below link.

The effects of stubble

Where does it say that you have to be clean shaven?
Answer. The Health and Safety Executive reference the the need to be clean shaven widely throughout their guidance on RPE. However, please see the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, specifically covered on pages 40 and 41

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations

Where can you get Training on Face Fitting?
Answer. There are many companies who offer trining on face fitting.Fit2Fit publish a list of training courses whose content has been approved as being in line with the requirements of the HSE’s guidance. These courses can accessed through the following link
Approved Training Courses Or simply by clicking on the Approved Training tab at the top of the Fit2Fit home page

Will attending a Face Fitting Training course mean I am Fit2Fit Accredited?
Answer. No it will not. Training is an essential stage in the process of becoming a competent face fit tester. However, to be accredited and deemed competent through the scheme there is a formal assessment process involving a written multiple choice exam and an assessment through a practical demonstration of face fitting in a candidates chosen method. For more information and guidance on becoming Fit2Fit accredited please follow the link to the Fit2Fit Candidates Handbook
Fit2Fit Candidates Handbook

Where can you find guidance on using Repiratory Protective Equipment and Face Fitting?
Answer. There is comprehensive information available on the “Resources” section of this website. Following the links below to the HSE’s publications “Respiratory Protective Equipment at Work “(a practical guide) HSG 53 and HSE’s publication Guidance on Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) Fit Festing will provide all that you would normally need to know

Guidance on RPE Fit Testing

Guidance on RPE Fit Testing 2 

Are there different methods used in Face Fitting?
Answer. Yes there are different methods commonly used which are recognised by the HSE and all international regulators.
The methods fall under qualitative or quantitative.
The Qualitative Method is a pass / fail test based on taste. Full details on the Qualitative Method are available here

There are 2 Quantitative Methods – Ambient Particle Counting (APC) and Controlled Negative Pressure (CNP) Full details on both of these methods are available at
Quantitative APC


Quantitative CNP
Fit2Fit provides accreditation in all 3 methods. Fit2Fit does not recommend one Face Fitting method over another.

How can I tell if the face fitting I have had has been carried out competently?
Answer. Competence can be demonstrated by through skill, knowledge and the experience of a face fit tester. The Fit2Fit competency assessment process evaluates all of this. So look for the Fit2Fit Accreditation, then you can be confident your provider is competent.

Where can I find a qualified, competent face fitter?
Answer. Simply click on the link below or access Find a Fit Tester through the tab on the Fit2Fit website home page.
Find a Tester 

How can I become accredited as a competent face fitter?
Answer.Contact Fit2Fit on 01442248744 or e mail us at

How often does an RPE wearer need to be face fit tested?
Answer. A fit test must be carried out as part of the initial selection of the RPE and should be repeated whenever there is a change to the RPE type, size, make or model being used. A repeat test should be carried out regardless of any change to the RPE in use if the wearer’s facial characteristics change, for example weight gain or loss, substantial dental work, piercings and changes to other head worn PPE which could impact the fit of a mask. It is good practice to have a system in place to review when a repeat test is required. Fit2Fit recommends that a repeat fit test is carried out every 2 years. However, more frequent fit testing may be appropriate particularly where the RPE is being used as the primary or sole means of control

If I change to using a different mask do I need another face fit test?
Answer. Yes , a change in the Make, Model, or Size of mask other than that, that you were face fitted on will require another face fit test to ensure that the new mask fits and provides the required protection.