Thorough Examination and Test of RPE

Safety guidance relating to the thorough examination of RPE.  Why what, when, how & what records should be retained?

This guidance is intended for all supervisory staff with responsibilities for ensuring that respiratory protective devices such as half and full-face filter masks supplied to staff are maintained in a suitable condition.

Why carry out examinations and tests?

  1. To ensure that when the mask is required it performs in a satisfactory manner.
  2. It’s the law, under Regulation 9 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
  3. It’s a requirement of BSEN378-3:2008 Annex A.1.6 Respirators Note 5 and
  4. Is a requirement of Star Generic Risk assessment RA027

What devices require examination and tests?

All non-disposable respiratory protective devices such as half and full-face respirators and self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) (Note: SCBA is not normally supplied to Star engineers).

How often should these examination and tests be carried out?

EN 378 calls for monthly or even more frequently where heavy use is experienced. This requirement is echoed in the ACOP to COSHH, however, the ACOP goes on to say that in situations where respirators are used only occasionally, the frequency of examination and test can be at suitable intervals, but in any event, the intervals should not exceed three months. Therefore, due to the infrequent use of devices supplied to Star engineers the minimum frequency will be every three months but to achieve this branches should aim for checks to be carried out at each safety meeting.

What is a thorough examination and test?

The maintenance, examination and tests should be in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Examinations should comprise a thorough visual examination of all parts of the respirator, to ensure that all parts are present, correctly fitted, and the equipment is in good working order. In particular, the examination should ensure that the straps, facepieces, filters and valves are sound and in good working condition.

Should records be kept of the examination and test?

Yes, this is a requirement of the COSHH Regulations. Records of each examination and test should include: 

a)    Name and address of employer

b)    Distinguishing number, mark or description sufficient to identify the mask

c)    The manufacturer

d)    Date of examination

e)    Name and signature of the person carrying out the examination and test

f)     The condition of the equipment and details of any defect found

g)    Confirmation that the filter insert is unused

Records may be kept on paper (see attached record sheet) or electronically.

Records must be kept for 5 years.

Last modified: Thursday, 4 July 2013, 9:58 AM