Due to an increase in risk with Covid 19, and human to human transmission while conducting face fit testing we have implemented additional procedures for both office and onsite testing.
The decision to continue fit testing has not been made lightly, however with the increased need in the healthcare sector and the construction industry still needing testing completed we have decided to proceed and then to implement further controls to reduce the risk. We have built the below processes based off advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), this guidance can be found here. 3M has also given guidance on fit testing during Covid 19- this can be found here. Guidance from WHSQ has also been followed- this can be found here.
If you feel any of the below procedures can be modified to make fit testing safer please email Sebastian Rasche at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact him directly on 0412 889 317. Any feedback from medical specialists and providers is welcome.
For non accredited training, this shall still be delivered, however social distancing will apply- we have opted to follow the guidance of ASQA. This guidance can be found here.
Actions are as follows:
- PST staff members shall not work if they have any of the following symptoms:
- flu like symptoms
- shortness of breath
- headaches/aches and pain
- PST staff will not travel between states (ie NSW/ NT/ VIC) unless it is absolutely critical and for medical/hospital/ mining fit testing, if travelling interstate workers shall follow current healthy direction and ensure either a permit is granted or an exemption given
- if customers present to testing with symptoms of a Cold/Flu/Covid 19, we will refuse to test them
- operators and workers being tested shall always maintain at least 1.5m between each other while at the office
- all workers being fit tested onsite or at our office shall wash hands prior to testing, and use hand sanitizer immediately prior/post testing, operators shall also wash hands between fit tests and wear gloves if they feel a risk exists. When wearing gloves all care will be taken not to touch surfaces unnecessarily, when gloves are removed this shall be done to avoid hand contamination. Hand hygiene is important before touching the respirator and after taking it off.
- all hand shaking will be avoided (please do not think this is disrespect or unfriendly- this is purely controlling risk)
- When testing at the office a maximum of 6 individuals will be allowed within the office to ensure we keep 4 square metres between people, when sitting workers shall be spaced apart
- all fit test adaptors shall be sanitised between uses (see below procedure)
- all respirators will be wiped down and cleaned prior to fit testing with isopropyl alcohol wipes, allowing at least 30 seconds contact time, the respirator shall be wiped down and sanitised by the worker being tested
- we will only test on masks owned by the client, or new masks- we will not test on our masks unless they have been disinfected in line with manufacturers specifications (see below procedure)
- fit test vehicle/office surfaces/ laptops/ PortaCounts/ Twin Tubes shall be wiped down prior and after use with isopropyl alcohol wipes and if condensate builds up this shall be blown out (into a paper towel) with compressed air, or switched with another set of twin tubes
- door handles shall be wiped down at regular intervals
- all fit test waste will be disposed of immediately after fit testing
- If testing in our fit test van the operator shall wear a respirator (cleanspace or SR100), and workers being tested will be required to don the RPE prior to entering van. If possible testing will always be done onsite with sufficient room (ie site office). Workers will don RPE prior to entering van and only take RPE when exiting van.
For testing completed within the van onsite, due to the close proximity we have the additional control measures:
- workers are to enter van wearing respirator and then conduct test, worker is to cover probe and exhale as twin tubes are attached
- operator is to wear respirator
- where possible fit testing shall take place within an office rather than the van
- where possible testing shall be one on one
For additional information please see QLD Governments Health Department Information.
Procedure for disinfecting respirators between use when fit testing
Due to an increase risk of respiratory related illnesses/viruses we have implemented the following procedure for washing/sanitizing respirators when fit testing. This is intended for customers who do not have their own respirators and wish to be tested on our respirators. Please note we will try to always test on your own respirators however sometimes this is not possible.
Equipment and Materials:
- Bucket 1- 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Bucket 2- Water Soap Mixture (Dishwashing Liquid) (5L)
- Bucket 3- Water (5L)
- Water Container (to hold water when no tap exists)
- Isopropyl alcohol (Diggers) (100%) (IPA)
- Alcohol Wipes (Allen’s)
- Prepare and fill each Bucket with mix and let sit
- Once respirator has been used respirator worker is to spray inside of respirator with IPA (Diggers) and allow at least 5 minutes contact, this is then to be left to dry. The respirator is then to be washed under running water.
- Respirator is to be placed in Bucket 1 and left for at least 5 minutes to disinfect further.
- Respirator is to be removed and then washed a second time in Bucket 2. When doing this dunk the respirator multiple times to wash all the alcohol mix out.
- Respirator is then washed a third time in Bucket 3.
- If desired user can wash out an additional time under running water
- Respirator is to be dried for at least 1 hour between use
- Prior to reuse or fit testing user is to then wipe down with Isopropyl alcohol wipes
- Filters are to be wiped down between uses with alcohol wipes
- Buckets and contents are to be discarded at regular intervals
- Use Detergent on buckets post cleaning
Guidance to form Procedure:
- Sundstrom Guidance on disinfecting SR100
- ISO 16975-3 6.5.5- REFER TO MANUFACTURERS SPECIFICATION FOR DISINFECTING
- AS/NZS 1715:2009 S 9.2- REFER TO MANUFACTURERS SPECIFICATION FOR DISINFECTION
Procedure for disinfecting probes between use when fit testing
Due to an increase risk of respiratory related illnesses/viruses we have implemented the following procedure for disinfecting probes when fit testing.
The probe is used to measure inward leakage and is usually located close to the mouth, so care must be taken to adequately disinfect probe each time testing is undertaken. We use multiple probes so these can be disinfected and cycled through.
Equipment and Materials:
- Isopropyl alcohol Wipes
- Once probe has been used wash probe under running water and allow to dry
- Wipe down probe with Isopropyl alcohol wipes and allow to dry
- Store probe in clip seal bag or probe container and wipe down again prior to test
Guidance and Justification:
Procedure for Disinfection of PortaCount/ Laptop/ Surfaces
Equipment and Materials:
- Alcohol Wipes
- Paper Towels
- Operator is to wipe down surfaces that pose a risk between each fit test- this could include desks, chairs, door handles, laptops, probe inserters, zero check filters, tape measures, cables and any other item that may pose a risk.
Procedure for Disinfection of Twin Tubes
There is a common misconception that exhaled air in the PortaCount twin tubes can be inhaled by the worker being fit tested. The manufacturer has conducted research on whether exhaled air from any previous fit tests can be inhaled by the worker being tested- this study can be found here.
- On completion of a fit test twin tubes shall be wiped down with an isopropyl alcohol wipe
- When removing hose from adaptor both the worker and operator will take a step back as to maintain 1.5m
- Twin tubes are to be blown out into a paper towel with compressed air and zero check filter replaced