Delighted to Expand our In-House Face Fit Testing Team
As an employer, it is our responsibility to control exposure to any substances that are hazardous to the health of our employees. Due to the scale of our in-house manufacturing operation, we have many workers who require the use of respirators or breathing apparatus to protect their health and providing them with suitable equipment is a vital part of our Health and Safety standards.

Because faces are of all shapes and sizes, they need to be carefully matched to the most appropriate make/model of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE). Faces change with time and this can have a significantly adverse effect on the effectiveness of a tight-fitting facemask. In addition, beards and facial hair will compromise the tight seal on the respirator which in turn has a significant negative impact on the protection to the operator. Effectiveness depends on there being a good contact between the wearer and the mask - and the contact can only be assessed by performing a Face Fit Test.

Training in the proper use of respirators has been a mandatory part in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations since 1989. A further revision to this in 2002 stated that any RPE supplied by the employer must be Fit Tested with the employee wearing the equipment – and so the regulated practice of Fit Testing was created. The Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) states that tight-fitting RPE must be tested on its intended user to ensure that the fit is adequate. 

Until now, Joe Chaney, our Health and Safety Manager, has been responsible for carrying out our internal Face Fit testing, however now we are delighted to share that two of our internal supervisors have recently passed their training, allowing them to also carry out this essential testing in-house. Our newly qualified trainers are Bryan Ferris and Craig Reid who are both supervisors in their current roles and are therefore already involved in the core daily Health and Safety responsibilities. As highly experienced members of the team, both with over 15 years’ service, they were perfectly placed to undertake the required training. This is a great achievement for them and testament to our commitment to the Health and Safety of our employees. 
Guidance on how to train users sufficiently was issued by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and this ensured that the external training body that we used provided a comprehensive training programme, covering key areas like; why RPE is needed, how it works, and how to wear and check the RPE correctly, along with the practical use and fitting of the equipment.

As our supervisors take on this extra Health and Safety responsibility for the business it provides many benefits. Not only does it save time and costs, it allows us to be more flexible and reactive to new starters and internal job changes, whilst cutting out the need to call on an external supplier. 

Congratulations to Bryan and Craig, who’s certificates are in the post as we speak!

For more information on Merson Group’s accreditations and commitment to health and safety, quality and the environment please visit us here.