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December 14, 2011

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BSIF concerned about competency of RPE fitters

An accreditation scheme set up by the HSE and the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) to check the competency of face-piece fitters has returned a pass rate of less than 50 per cent.

The Fit2Fit Fit-Test Providers Accreditation Scheme was launched in 2009 in an effort to reduce the number of occupational respiratory illnesses. The scheme highlights the need for respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to be fitted correctly and tests the competency of any person performing face-piece fit-testing.

The Federation’s CEO David Lummis admitted that the pass rate for the scheme raises questions about the competency of workers tasked with fitting RPE. He said: “The low pass rate has caused the BSIF to reflect on the general competence of RPE fitters. This incompetence may be due to a lack of knowledge, skills, experience and/or understanding of fit-testing, or that these skills may have deteriorated over time. Either way, the wearer of the equipment will be risking potential respiratory health problems if the RPE is ill-fitted.”

He insisted that the results would drive the BSIF to redouble its efforts to increase the pass rates of the scheme, and continue to strive to educate and raise the proficiency of RPE fitters.

“It is vital that everyone who carries out this job is accredited to the necessary standard, thereby reducing unnecessary risk to workers,” concluded Lummis.

For more information on the Fit2Fit Fit-Test Providers Accreditation Scheme, visit www.bsif.co.uk

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