Fit Testing in House Vs Engaging a Fit Test Provider

Pro Safety and Training face fit testing van

Here at Pro Safety & Training we regularly have customers looking to establish fit testing in house (test their own employees). For some customers this is worthwhile, and for other customers it is not- it all depends on the size of the business and their turnover of staff.

We have been fit testing since 2015, and from a single PortaCount we now have a fleet of 8 PortaCounts, onsite testing vans and several accredited fit testers. So, it is safe to say we have a good idea on the costs of establishing fit testing.

This news post will give you a rough idea of costs involved in setting up testing in house, along with an approximate number of fit tests for testing in house to be viable.

All pricing should be checked with suppliers and is not to be relied upon to make a business case, we also recommend running your numbers past your accountant to ensure that your decision is viable.

Costs of Setting Up Fit Testing In House

For customers wishing to setup testing, we would allow the following costs as a minimum:

Item to Establish Fit Testing in HouseCostRecommended Supplier
PortaCount 8048 and Particle Generator~$29,000 + GSTKenelec Scientific
Card Printer and Cards~$3500 + GSTID Warehouse
Consumables (probes, alcohol, wipes,)~$1000 + GSTOnsite Safety
General Equipment (leads/powerboards)~$500 + GSTOfficeworks
Laptops/Printers/IT~$1500 + GSTOfficeworks
Fit Test Adaptors/Shop Masks~$1200 + GSTAllens Industrial
RESP-FIT Training (Group)~$6000 + GSTRESP-FIT
Total:~$42,700 + GST

The above costs consider all equipment and material costs, along with training to establish testing in house.

Establishment Costs

Establishment Costs Pie Chart Breakdown

As a basic guide business should allow a minimum investment of $42,700+GST to establish fit testing in house.

Ongoing Costs of Fit Testing in House

Once you own a PortaCount there is then the cost of calibrating the equipment and insuring the equipment, along with the ongoing costs of consumables. This will also be a variable cost subject to the number of workers you are testing (especially for consumables), for simplicity we have estimated this at:

Item to Establish Fit Testing in HouseCostRecommended Supplier
PortaCount Calibration + freight~$2000 + GSTKenelec Scientific
Consumables (alcohol and probes)~$1200 + GSTOnsite Safety
General Equipment (leads/powerboards)~$850 + GSTBrokers
Total:~$4050 + GST

Annual Ongoing Costs

Annual Ongoing Costs Pie Chart Breakdown

As a rough estimate we would allow ongoing costs of $4050 per year, per PortaCount.

Variable Costs

Probes/alcohol/wipes etc.

Useful Life:

We are a huge fan of the PortaCount and really believe in the design and build, from experience with the original 8020s, we believe any modern PortaCount such as the 8048 will last a number of years.

For our calculations we will assume a useful life of 5 years for the PortaCount and average the price of the unit over time. The PortaCount will most likely last longer than 5 years, however 5 years will be used for this calculation.

Break Even Point:


Upfront Costs: ~$42,700+GST (cost to buy the PortaCount and Equipment)

Ongoing Costs: ~$4050+GST (cost to maintain the unit annually)

We would recommend speaking to an accountant but if we spread the upfront cost over 5 years ($8540+GST per year) and add the ongoing costs ($4050+GST per year) we come to a total of $12,590+GST per year.

This does not take into account labour, with one PortaCount you could complete 1 fit test every 30 minutes, and with assumed labour cost of $50 per hour, this would equate to $25 labour per test. For this calculation we are also assuming that you can fit test workers through an external contractor for $70+GST per test.

So our break even point (BEP) would be calculated as follows:

BEP (no of tests)= Fixed Cost/(Price per test using a contractor-variable cost per test)

BEP (no of tests)= $12,590/($70-$25)

Break Even= 280

Break Even Point

Break Even Point Line Chart

So we would have to complete at least 280 tests per year for testing in house to be viable. This would cost a total of $19,590 every year.

So if you are completing more than 280 fit tests per year, or are spending more than $19,590 per year then it may be worthwhile considering fit testing in house.

Is it worth it financially?

For majority of small and medium businesses it will not be worthwhile buying a fit test machine (PortaCount) and completing testing in house.

If you are a large employer (council, mine site, power station, hospital) and you have more than 280 fit tests annually, or spend more than $19,590 per year in testing, then it is definitely viable to test in house.

Is the effort worthwhile?

Majority of decisions we make in life are not always financial, if deciding to test in house you will need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do we have the expertise in house to test (i.e. trained testers), and will these trained testers stick around? Does this cause issues with staff workload if they now also take over testing for the business?
  • Do we want to expose ourselves to the risk of testing in house, and have we got the right policies and procedures to test accurately and in a reliable way?
  • Is testing the core of our business, or do we focus on what we know best and bring in a contractor to complete our testing?
  • Will testing in house create other, unexpected issues?

There is a reason that many businesses and individuals opt to test externally, weigh up all aspects of testing in house/externally and think long term, and you will make the right fit testing decision.

How we can help:

We can assist with both establishing fit testing in house Australia Wide (we generally work in the Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley), and also fit testing your workers in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

To get in contact to speak about establishing fit testing in house, training or fit testing please call us on 1300 336 003 or email us at


This article is not to be used to justify any financial decision, prices should be used for guidance only and should be checked prior to making any decision. We strongly recommend speaking with your accountant and or financial advisor prior to making any decision around testing.