December 15, 2020

Fit Testing at Northern: Phase 2

After the successful completion of the Fit-Test pilot project, where 847 priority health care workers were fit tested, Northern Health is now entering the second phase.

Fit testing is a process to verify if a selected brand, model or size of an P2/N95 mask adequately fits the wearer. Testing is carried out with all the different types of masks available, to identify the best fitting mask to ensure a consistent fit.

Michelle Wakelam, a certified Occupational Hygienist with many years’ experience in fit testing and respiratory protection, has recently been enrolled as our Respiratory Protection Program Coordinator (RPP Coordinator) and our respiratory scientists have received additional training to continue the testing program.

“We working  increase our capacity to be able to provide up to 21 tests a day,” says Michelle. “Since the pilot project , Northern Health has now fit tested an additional 70 staff members.”

Chief Executive Siva Sivarajah, was one of those fit tested by scientist Kristin Southwell recently.

Says Kristin, “Fit testing gives all Northern Health staff confidence on which N95 masks provides them the best protection. In addition to measuring how well a mask fits we also provide staff training on how to appropriately don masks and use their respiratory protective equipment effectively.”

Nicholas Romeo, Head Respiratory Scientist / Laboratory Manager – Department of Respiratory Medicine said, “we are very honoured to assist the organisation in ensuring the wellbeing and safety of our staff. The idea of having our respiratory scientists performing fit testing is innovative, but it’s a natural fit and utilises all our skill set. We look forward to phase 3 of the program and the opening of the dedicated fit testing laboratories where we expect to test 3500 staff members annually”.


Featured image shows Siva Sivarajah fit tested by Kristin Southwell