M.C. Townsend Associates, LLC

Phone: 412-343-9946  Fax: 412-343-9947  Email: mct@mctownsend.com

Respirator Fit Testing Workshop


Course Description

Testing the fit of employees' respirators may be the most safety-sensitive and critical task performed by occupational health professionals. Besides performing the "mechanics" of fit-testing correctly, fit-testers must also understand the logic and theory behind the testing. Because fit-testing can appear to be repetitive and mundane, it is easy to forget the consequences for the worker if it is performed incorrectly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires annual fit-testing for most respirators used in the occupational and health care settings. But aside from manufacturer training on how to use specific fit-testing equipment, few training courses are available for health professionals who perform fit-testing.

In response to requests for comprehensive and practical training presented within a single day, this course presents theory and hands-on practice with widely used quantitative (QNFT) and qualitative (QLFT) fit-testing methods in a one-day workshop. To reduce participants' travel time and costs, the fit-testing workshop is offered back-to-back in Pittsburgh and Baltimore with a related course, the NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher Course, at a reduced price for those who register for both courses together.

Based on client requests, this fit-testing course reviews the requirements of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard, clarifies when fit-testing is needed and when QNFT vs. QLFT is appropriate, provides steps to follow for fit-testing preparation, demonstrates and provides hands-on participant practice with both qualitative (QLFT) quantitative (QNFT) fit-testing, and discusses special considerations for Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) and Recordkeeping. AIHA/ANSI Z88.10-2010 "Respirator Fit Testing Methods" is discussed and provided to course participants at no additional cost.

Class size is limited to maximize student-faculty interaction and to keep the atmosphere informal and conducive to learning. Topics are varied to keep students interested and involved. Breaks are frequent to help students concentrate and remain focused.

All lectures are given by Craig Colton, CIH. A certificate is awarded upon completion of the course.

Course Faculty

Craig Colton, CIH, is a nationally recognized expert in respiratory protection who works closely with NIOSH and OSHA on respirator development and use issues. He has worked in the respiratory protection field for over 30 years, first as an Industrial Hygienist and Training Institute Instructor for OSHA, and most recently for 3M, as a Division Scientist and Senior Technical Service Specialist in Regulatory Affairs & Training in 3M's Occupational Health & Environmental Safety Division. He has an exceptional grasp of the practical details and pitfalls involved in fit-testing and using respirators, and helps users trouble-shoot their problems on a daily basis.

He is active with AIHA, having edited the third edition of AIHA's Respiratory Protection Manual and Guideline, and is a member of the ANSI Z88 Accredited Standards Committee on Respiratory Protection, as well as the Z88.10 ANSI/AIHA Respirator Fit Testing Methods, BSR AIHA Z88.12 Respiratory Protection for Infectious Aerosols, and AIHA Z88.14 Respirator Use for Emergency Response and Operations against Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction subcommittees.

Course Topics

  • Overview of OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
  • Respirator fit-testing: when it's needed and when it's not.
  • Qualitative (QLFT) vs. Quantitative (QNFT) fit-testing.
  • Preparation for fit-testing.
  • QLFT (saccharin and bitrex): Demonstration and participant hands-on practice.
  • QNFT (Portacount and Portacount Companion for N95 filtering facepieces): Demonstration and participant hands-on practice.
  • Special notes on Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs).
  • Recordkeeping.
  • Recommendations of Z88.10-2010 Respirator Fit Testing Methods.

Continuing Education

This Respirator Fit Testing Workshop has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 7.50 AMA Physicians Recognition Award Category 1 Credits.*

This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation, for 7.5 contact hours.

This program has been approved for 1.0 Industrial Hygiene Certificate Maintenance (CM) points by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene.

* DuBois Regional Medical Center is accredited by the Pennsylvania Medical Society to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians.  DuBois Regional Medical Center designates this a continuing medical education activity and it awards 7.50 AMA Physicians Recognition Award Category 1 Credits and the Pennsylvania Medical Society Member CME Certification.  Each physician should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the educational activity. Faculty participants in continuing medical education activities sponsored by DuBois Regional Medical Center are expected to disclose to the audience whether they do or do not have any real or apparent conflicts of interest or other relationships related to the content of their presentations.

Course Materials

A variety of respirators for demonstration, QLFT kits (3M and MSA) with sample respirators, and QNFT Portacount units with sample respirators are available for class use.

The current AIHA/ANSI document - Z88.10-2010 Respirator Fit Testing Methods - is provided to course participants at no additional cost.

Dates & Course Location

Baltimore course location

Taught collaboratively with Johns Hopkins University, this class is held at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD.

Baltimore 2014 Date

The Fall, 2014 class has been canceled*

*Follows a NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher Course and precedes a full NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Course.


Pittsburgh, PA dates and course location

May 15, 2014
October 27, 2014


Hyatt Place Pittsburgh Airport
6011 Campbells Run Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

"Spirometry/audiometry" room block rate is $119/night. Room reservations: call 412-494-0202.

Registration Information

Respirator Fit Testing Workshop Tuition - $395

Click HERE to register.

Tuition for Fit Testing Workshop includes:
  • All course materials, including a comprehensive course workbook.
  • Z88.10-2010 Respirator Fit Testing Methods - a copy of this current essential AIHA/ANSI document.
  • Electronic and/or hard copies of other critical respirator fit-testing documents, regulations, and tools.
  • Continuing education credit.
  • Use of a variety of types of respirators and fit-testing equipment set-ups.
  • Class size is limited, so please register early to assure availability. You may pay by check or using VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit cards. Students are enrolled in the order in which payment and registration are received. Confirmation will be sent upon receipt of the tuition payment. Tuition is fully refunded if you cancel five or more weeks before the course date. A $50 service charge is deducted if you cancel 3-5 weeks before the course date. Since expenses are fixed, no refunds are issued if you cancel less than 3 weeks before the course date. However, you may always send an alternate in your place or, if we find a replacement for your registered class date, you may transfer to a later course.

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