What is the difference between a Respirator and a Surgical Mask/Facemask?
Surgical masks are loose-fitting, disposable devices, designed to provide:
- A barrier that will protect your mouth and nose against large-particle droplets,
splashes, and bodily fluids.
- Reduce exposure of your secretions to others.
Surgical masks are ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certified and
FDA approved under the 21 CFR 878.4040 code.
According to the level of ASTM barrier protection masks could be classified as:
- Level 1: general use for procedures that do not involve sprays, fluids or aerosols
providing low barrier protection.
- Level 2: for procedures that involve low to moderate levels of sprays, fluids, or
- Level 3: provides maximum barrier protection in situations that can potentially expose
you to high levels of aerosols, sprays, and fluids.
What is a Qualitative Respirator Fit Testing (QLFT)?
QLFT is a method that uses the wearer’s senses (taste, smell, or reaction to irritants) in
order to detect leakages from the facepiece of the respirator.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What if I cannot partake in a Qualitative Respirator Fit Test?
If a Qualitative Respirator Fit Test cannot be conducted, you may consider looking into
a Quantitative Respirator Fit Test. Heaven Can Wait does not offer the latter service at
What is NIOSH? What does it mean if a Respirator is NIOSH-approved?
A particle respirator is a protective respiratory device that has met requirements and
standards to protect the user from airborne hazards in the workplace. The National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which is part of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in charge of approving particle filtering
There are 10 classes of NIOSH-approved particle filtering respirators:
- N95, N99, N100: Filters at least 95%, 99%, 99.97% of airborne particles respectively.
Not resistant to oil.
- R95, R99, R100: Filters at least 95%, 99%, 99.97% of airborne particles respectively.
Somewhat resistant to oil.
- P95, P99, P100: Filters at least 95%, 99%, 99.97% of airborne particles respectively.
Strongly resistant to oil.
- HE (High-Efficiency Particulate Air): Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. For use
on purifiers only. PAPRs use only HE filters.
It is important to note that the letter before the number represents the filter series and the
number represents the efficiency.
N = not resistant to oil-based aerosols.
95 = Blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 microns) test particles.
When should I wear an N95 Particle Respirator?
An N95 particle respirator should be worn in situations where the wearer is exposed to
airborne particles. Each workplace will establish when an N95 respirator should be used
in the context of a comprehensive respiratory program following the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
Individuals who work in health-care and residential facilities, industrial establishments,
and construction sites require that all workers pass a fit test as set out by the Canadian
Standards Association’s Z94.4 standard and provincial regulations.
If you are a healthcare worker whose duties and responsibilities require you to interact
with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, and N95 respirator must be worn.
How do I prepare for my Respirator Fit Test?
- Complete your Respirator Fit Test Form
- DO NOT smoke, eat, or drink 20 minutes prior to your Respirator Fit Test.
- You must be clean-shaven. If you do not have acceptable facial hair* when arriving for
your Respirator Fit Test, you WILL NOT be fit tested as outlined in the CSA Standard
Z94. 4-11. Heaven Can Wait reserves the right to refuse fit testing an individual that is
not clean-shaven or has facial hair.
- DO NOT wear makeup
- If you are pregnant, please consult with your qualified healthcare practitioner prior to
your fit test.
*For more information, please refer to the CDC’s guidelines or see the following image
Will I get a certificate after my Qualitative Respirator Fit Test?
Yes, upon passing the fit test participants will be issued a certificate valid for 2 years.
What if I do not pass the Qualitative Respirator Fit Test?
You will be provided guidance and suggestions on which mask(s) would the best size
and model for your face. We can also test other mask(s) if available.
NOTE: The same mask cannot be tested twice in the same session.
What if my employer no longer has stock of the Respirator I was Fit Tested for?
Can I use another one instead?
A Qualitative Respirator Fit Test, as well as the certificate provided upon passing, is
unique to the Respirator that was fit tested. If a different size or model, even if it is from
the same manufacturer, is ordered, it must be fit tested separately.
When should another Qualitative Respiratory Fit Test be conducted?
A Qualitative Respirator Fit Test should be conducted whenever:
- 2-year certificate is expired or close to expiry
- a new respirator is acquired and being considered for use
- new facial scars or irregularities
- weight gain or loss
How can I book a Qualitative Respirator Fit Test?
Please call us at 416-331-8855 or email us at email@example.com.
- Standards Council of Canada (SCC), 2019. Retrieved from:
- CDC 2020. Retrieved from:
- FDA 2020. Retrieved from:
- CDC 2020 NIOSH approved respirators. Retrieved from: