RESP-FIT is aware of the recent adoption of a beard covering technique being used in fit testing tight fitting respirators, particularly in Healthcare. This technique, known as the Singh Thatta, involves the use of an exercise resistance band wrapped around a wearers chin/beard and tied up on top of the head to create a smoother surface over the beard or facial hair, aiming for a better sealing surface area. Disposable balaclavas have also been used in this way to try and improve the tight fitting seal.
All international standards, including AS/NZS 1715:2009, ISO 16975-3, OSHA 1910.134 and others, clearly state that there should be no facial hair on a wearers’ face underneath a tight-fitting respirator sealing surface area. Facial hair prevents an adequate seal from being achieved, and the level of protection is neither reliable nor predictable.
RESP-FIT does NOT recommend the use of this technique for a number of reasons as outlined in the following position statement.