RPE Fit Testing

Learn more about the Monash Health Respiratory Protection Program (RPP)

Update (February)

Fit Testing is currently being rolled out for Monash Health employees to ensure they are equipped with the most suitable tight-fitting respirators/face masks for their unique face shape. Better fitting masks offer employees better protection from workplace respiratory hazards including airborne infectious agents, dust, and other particles.

Conducting fit testing requires specific equipment and training, which means we cannot fit test everyone at once. To best manage the program, fit testing is currently being made available to those at the greatest risk of exposure to respiratory hazards, as advised by the Department of Health and Human Services and agreed by the Chief Medical Officer.

Currently, priority ward and unit cohorts, including ED, ICU and COVID admission, are undertaking fit testing. You will receive an email when fit testing is available for you, and we ask that you follow the relevant prompts to be fit tested as soon as possible, including completing the online consent and clearance form (link to section). The testing process takes around one hour to complete.

In some instances, there will be vacant fit testing sessions made available at short notice due to cancellations or no staff from the priority cohorts being available. In this situation, fit testing will be made available to non-priority cohorts to ensure the program can be rolled out to Monash Health employees as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Currently fit testing is operating at 20 Wright Street Clayton (opposite Monash Medical Centre), Casey Hospital Ward D, and Dandenong Hospital. Fit testing has been successfully completed at Chestnut Gardens Aged Care Home, with Moorabbin Hospital set to begin fit testing on 17 February and the Kingston Centre in March.

What is the RPP?

The Monash Health Respiratory Protection Program (RPP) combines a comprehensive suite of respiratory protection processes to protect Monash Health employees from workplace respiratory hazards including airborne infectious agents, dust and other particles.

The RPP will introduce fit testing of tight-fitting respirators/face masks.

This is a process that will ensure employees who are required to wear tight-fitting respirators/face masks are equipped with respiratory protective equipment (RPE) that has been fit tested for a safe seal to your face.

There are many different face shapes, and the pandemic has really shown that when it comes to RPE that one size respirator/face mask does not fit all. We want to ensure there is a safe and secure seal between your face and the RPE, further reducing the risk of you being exposed to hazardous respiratory agents.

Starting in December 2020, the RPP is a planned implementation which will roll-out in stages, eventually fit testing around 14,000 employees. All employees requiring fit testing will be required to complete a fit test on a minimal annual basis, as part of strengthening our occupational health and safety measures.

What’s involved?

  1. You will be invited to undertake fit testing according to identified priority cohorts
  2. Complete an online fit test consent and medical clearance form
  3. When this is completed you are able to book in for your fit test through an online booking mechanism
  4. An email will be sent to your Monash Health account and an Outlook appointment sent to your calendar
  5. Attend your booking and undertake your fit test
  6. Fit test results will be clarified and an information card provided
  7. An annual fit test reminder will be emailed to you in due course

Fit Testing

What is Fit Testing?

Fit testing will see you trial a range of makes, models and sizes of close-fitting filtering face respirators/masks or RPE to find the most efficient seal for your face measured by quantitative fit-testing equipment and a trained operator.

Monash Health has acquired 15 fit-testing machines which perform quantitative fit testing which measures the amount of face seal leakage present when a given RPE model is worn by a particular user.

Our aim will be to test you on around five different mask types, with an aspiration of identifying two to three masks with which you can achieve an effective seal.

We estimate that it will take around an hour to undertake a fit test.

Why do we need Fit Testing?

The effectiveness of close-fitting respiratory protection relies on achieving an effective seal against the wearer’s face.

The purpose of fit testing is to verify which selected makes, models and sizes of close-fitting RPE best fits the wearer.

Many different face masks are available, with testing of five masks to be completed on each participant, aiming for two or more fitted masks identified for your use.

When will Fit Testing take place?

Fit testing at Monash Health commenced in December 2020 and we expect up to 8,000 employees to be fit tested by June 2021.

You will be notified via email and your manager when fit testing is available for you.

Conducting fit testing requires specific equipment and training, which means we cannot fit test everyone at once. To best manage the program, the first people to be fit tested are those at the greatest risk of exposure to respiratory hazards, as agreed by the Chief Medical Officer.

What do I need to prepare for my Fit Test?

Employees need to allow an hour to complete the fit test process. During that time, it is our aspiration that each employee will be tested for five mask types.

Prior to your appointment, you will need to:

  • Bring any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (e.g. eye wear, headwear, etc.) that you would normally wear in conjunction with your mask/respirator, as this should be worn when being fit tested.
  • Be clean shaven on the day of the fit test and when using any tight fitting mask/respirator.
  • Ensure you arrive with your hair tied back and away from the area of your face where the mask/respirator is placed.
  • Do not smoke, vape, or eat in the 30 minutes prior to the fit test as this may affect results.
  • Prior to being able to book your fit test, you will be required to complete an online consent and medical clearance.

If you have any condition which you believe may prohibit you from conducting a fit test, please discuss it with your manager prior to completing the consent form. We would still like you to complete the consent form, and somebody from the RPP team will be in touch to discuss any further queries.

How frequent is Fit Testing?

Fit testing is an annual requirement for employees. It will also be required where a person’s face profile/shape has changed e.g. from weight loss/gain or facial surgery.

Fit checks are always required every time a mask/respiratory is applied, to ensure a good seal. Where a fit check determines the lack of a good seal, a repeat fit test will be required.

What happens after the Fit Test is completed?

The fit test will determine which RPE makes and models best fit and protect you. You will receive a card with your fit test results. You will be required to wear the RPE selected for you during the fit test when working in an environment which requires RPE.

We will use the information from fit testing to ensure supply of RPE within Monash Health. Your manager will also be advised and will endeavour to ensure an appropriate supply at your work location.

We are also required to provide all results to the Department of Health and Human Services. They use this information to manage Victoria’s supply of PPE.

How do I book a Test?

You will receive an email when fit testing is available for you. We ask that you follow the relevant prompts to be fit tested as soon as possible, including completing the online consent and clearance form.

This page contains a link below to click on and complete the fit test consent and medical clearance form. On completion of this form, you will then be directed to click on a booking link to book into a fit test session.

It is intended that where possible, all employees will undertake the test during rostered work time. You will be paid during this time. Please discuss the timing with your manager.

Fit Test locations

Currently open:

  • Casey Hospital – Ward D, Level 1
  • Clayton Medical Centre – 20 Wright Street, opposite E block at MMC
  • Dandenong Hospital – Level 1, near the Lung Function Lab (under Maternity Ward)
  • Moorabbin Hospital – Level 2, near the Library in Tutorial Room 1

Opening soon:

  • Kingston Centre – Level 1, in South 4

Fit testing has been successfully completed at Chestnut Gardens Aged Care Home.

Consent and Booking

Fit Testing Consent and Medical Clearance Form

Online consent and medical clearance form/survey

Resources

Contact

For further information, please contact RPPenquiries@monashhealth.org

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