When our experienced trainers deliver training that involves the use of respirators we emphasise and explain that all users have to be clean-shaven as any stubble or facial hair will affect the seal of the respirator.
Manufacturers specifications, Codes of Practice and Australian Standards specify that workers need to be clean-shaven when wearing any sort of respirator. Why? Because the mask will seal correctly to the face!
To see what difference it made we had one of our students- Dan, complete facial fit testing with 2 different masks before and after removing his beard. The 2 respirators were our personal favourites- the half face Sundström SR100 (an industry favourite for non friable asbestos removal), and the full face SR200 (common for friable asbestos removal). You can see the test results in the below video.
As a minimum, to pass facial fit testing you must score over 500 (using a Portacount).
With a beard Dan failed tests with both respirators .
With Beard Results
Sundström SR100- Score of 44
Sundström SR200- Score of 62
Without Beard Results
Sundström SR100- Score of 27 500
Sundström SR200- Score of 35 500
So what exactly do these numbers mean?
If Dan were to wear a respirator while he has facial hair it would not provide adequate protection and unwanted particulates could enter his respiratory system. By being clean shaven he ensures that the respirator seals adequately to his face.
Always remember if you are wearing any sort of respirator you must be clean shaven! To complete facial fit testing onsite or at your facilities anywhere in Australia, to ensure that your respirator seals adequately to your face, please call us on 1300 336 003 or contact us.