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September 8, 2016

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Find the perfect fit with 3M’s interactive sessions at Safety Network Live

Fit testing will be taking centre stage at this year’s Safety Network Live event as 3M experts will be hosting hands-on workshops for both respiratory and hearing protection.

The science-based technology company will be using the event – which is in its second year – to enlighten health and safety professionals about the importance of fit testing, while also dispelling some myths and promoting good practice.

Alan McArthur, technical supervisor at 3M, will be leading the session on respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Research has indicated that 50 per cent of all RPE does not provide the expected level of protection[1], with one of the main factors being that it simply does not fit. While it has been a requirement of COSHH to fit test RPE for the past 14 years, there is still a lot of confusion around the process.

For example, Alan will be talking about why workers need to be clean shaven in the area of the face seal to achieve a good fit and how it is not only reusable respirators which need to be fit tested.

He will also be looking at the common methods used for fit testing RPE:

  • Qualitative for disposable respirators and half masks
    Alan McArthur will be speaking at the event

    Alan McArthur will be speaking at the event

  • Quantitative for disposable respirators, half and full face masks

Health and safety professionals attending the event can also learn a little more about fit testing hearing protection with 3Ms hearing specialist team.

Although it is not mandatory, 3M is promoting this as good practice because ill-fitting equipment can dramatically reduce the level of protection and result in incurable health issues, such as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

To show how easily and quickly hearing protecting can be fit tested, the team will be demonstrating 3M’s award-winning E-A-Rfit Dual-Ear Validation System.

Recently launched, this innovation has been designed to give employers complete confidence that their workers are receiving the very best protection from harmful noise.

The 3M system works by measuring the effectiveness of earplugs and earmuffs from inside the employee’s ear, to help identify which HPE suits them best, testing both ears at the same time to provide accurate, quantitative results. As both ears are simultaneously tested, it also gives the employer more time to educate employees on the importance of fit and compliance.

Alan said: “Fit testing continues to be a hot topic in the world of personal protective equipment, which is why it is so important to keep raising awareness and bring it to people’s attention.

“There are still a lot of companies out there who are not fully aware of the importance of fit testing and even for those health and safety professionals who are, it is always beneficial to refresh their memory.

“Both sessions are going to be really interactive and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions, so we hope to see lots of you there!”

The event will be taking place in Bracknell, Berkshire on Tuesday 27 September and at Old Trafford, Manchester on Tuesday 4 October.

To sign up to attend, please visit


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