How to Correctly Don a Honeywell Disposable N95 Mask
By Alexandra Serban
June 19, 2020
A respirator is effective only when worn correctly. This means putting on the correct size and shape for your face, testing to make sure you have a good facepiece-to-face seal, and making sure it is comfortable. Follow these simple instructions on how to correctly put on an N95 disposable mask.
Why are fit and fit testing important?
Air contaminants can compromise health and safety. Respirator-fit testing, therefore, is mandatory for any work required to use a tight-fitting respirator on the job. Once workers are medically cleared to wear a respirator, they must be fit tested to determine that the respirator fits properly on their faces. There are two types of fit tests:
Qualitative fit testing is a pass/fail test method that uses a sweet or bitter aerosol to determine whether a respirator fits the person being fitted. If he/she tastes the aerosol while wearing the respiratory, that respirator does not provide an adequate seal on that person. This fit-test method does not measure how well the respirator fits, only if it does or does not fit.
Quantitative fit testing measures how well a respirator fits by providing a fit factor, or quantified number. Half masks must have a fit factor of 100 to pass. The higher the number above 100, the better that respirator fits an individual.
Fit testing is required before a worker puts on a mask for the first time, annually, and when the face or respirator model/size changes. This includes weight changes, facial surgeries, and dental work.
Workers need to be fit tested with the exact model and size they will be using in a real-life working environment.
“It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the fit testing and recordkeeping requirements of OSHA's respiratory protection standard have been met before you use a respirator for protection against hazardous exposures at work,” OSHA states.
Instructions for carrying out qualitative and quantitative respirator fit tests are provided in OSHA 29 CFR §1910.134 (US), CSA Z94.4 (Canada), and respirator manuals published by government agencies such as NIOSH, ERDA, and NRC.
What you need to know prior to donning a mask
There are several things to remember before putting on a respirator.
You need to wash your hands thoroughly. Visually inspect the device for wear or damage, such as tears or holes. Make sure facial hair, jewelry or other PPE don’t interfere with the seal of the facepiece or proper mask placement.
Facial hair will compromise the seal of a tight-fitting respirator, including disposable respirators. OSHA’s regulation on Respiratory Protection, paragraph 29 CFR 1910.134(g)(1)(i)(A), states that respirators should not be worn when facial hair comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face. Read more, here.
Instructions for single-use filtering facepiece respirators
1. Cup the respirator in the hand, allowing the head straps to hang freely.
2. Hold the respirator under the chin with the nosepiece facing outwards.
3. Pull the lower strap up over your head and place around the neck, below the ears.
4. Holding the respirator against your face with one hand, place the top head strap above your ears, around the crown of your head.
5. Place hands on each side of the respirator and move the respirator slightly right, left, up and down, to adjust the position of the respirator and achieve the most optimum fit to your face.
6. If equipped with a nose clip, place both index fingers on the nose clip and apply pressure onto the nose clip, forming it to the shape of your nose to get the best fit possible on your face.
User Seal Check Instructions
A user seal check must be performed before you enter a contaminated environment.
- Place both hands over the respirator – do not disturb the position of the respirator..
- If the respirator is not fitted with an exhalation valve exhale sharply. A positive pressure should be felt inside the respirator.
- If the respirator is fitted with an exhalation valve, inhale sharply. A negative pressure should be felt inside the respirator.
- If you detect air leaking in readjust the respirator by:
- applying additional pressure on the nose clip for a secure seal on the nose;
- adjusting the position of the respirator on your face; and/or
- adjusting the position of the head straps.
“A correctly worn respirator will seal around the nose, cheeks, and chin to ensure contaminants cannot enter through gaps or breaks in the seal,” writes Robin Regan, Product Sales Manager for Respiratory Protection at Honeywell, in this blog article.
Lastly, make sure you understand and follow all manufacturer’s instructions, cautions, and warnings for the respirator to be used.
Honeywell has been manufacturing respiratory protection for challenging working environments for over 50 years. We make disposables, air and powered air-purifying respirators (APR and PAPR), cartridges, filters, air supplied systems, and SCBAs.