Qualitative & Quantitative

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A QUALITATIVE AND A QUANTITATIVE RESPIRATOR FIT TEST?

There are two methods of fit-testing that meet AS/ NZS1715:2009 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective equipment:

Qualitative – a pass/fail test that relies on the wearer’s ability to taste or smell a test agent. This type of test can only be used on half-face respirators.

Quantitative – uses specialised equipment to measure how much air leaks into the respirator. This type of test can be used on half-face respirators, full-face respirators and PAPR.

Quantitative fit-testing results are more objective than qualitative testing because some workers have difficulty with their ability to taste or smell. This can result in a potential for a false pass to the qualitative fit-test and worker health not being adequately protected.