Frequently Asked Questions for Fit Testing at Western State Hospital
To assist in better understanding the overall fit testing process at WSH and the expectations and responsibilities of WSH staff members in 2023, the Civil and Gage Safety Teams compiled a list of FAQs and answered common questions.
Q: I completed the fit test process last year – do I have to complete the process again this year?
A: Yes, fit testing is an annual requirement. Every year: training, medical questionnaire, and fit testing are required.
Q: I did not pass fit testing last year – do I still have to participate in the fit testing progress?
A: Yes, fit testing is an annual requirement that includes training, a medical questionnaire, and fit testing. Even if a staff member failed fit testing and was recommended for a PAPR when participating in fit testing during 2022, they need to be tested again for all respirators offered by the employer in 2023. If you had an HR-approved reasonable accommodation in 2022 and if your condition still exists, you should seek a renewal of their medical accommodation prior to fit testing.
Q: When do I start the fit testing process?
A: Start the fit testing process when you receive an email reminder notification from WSH PLVS. Please do not start the fit testing process until you receive an automated email reminder or are instructed to do so by the Safety Office. You may receive a second round of reminders as you approach your birth month. Please return for fit testing to align your fit testing compliance with your annual requirements.
Q: I went to Building 8, Room 2B and no one was there.
A: Fit testing is offered in multiple locations across all three shifts. Be sure to check the calendar HERE for drop-in times and schedule an appointment in either location. When scheduling a fit test appointment, be mindful of the fit testing location. Each Fit Testing Technician is assigned to a location. Please avoid startling the fit test technicians by banging on the window to be let into the building. You will need your WSH-issued keys to access Building 8 from the parking lot.
Q: The learning center shows that training was completed last year.
A: The learning center training DSHS BHA WSH N-95 Respirator Training OLT should allow access for each attempt and is required each year. Please contact Organization Development for learning center-related questions.
Q: I was recommended for PAPR training due to failing the fit tests. What do I do now?
A: PAPR training is available online in the learning center (“DSHS BHA WSH 3M TR 300 PAPR Training OLT”). You may also contact the Safety Office for instructor-led PAPR Training. Once PAPR training is completed, you have completed the fit testing process. Be sure to notify the Medical Services Office that you completed PAPR training so the account can be updated to stop the email reminders. The notifications are updated weekly.
Q: How do I cancel or reschedule an existing appointment?
A: If you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, please use the confirmation link received in the appointment reminder sent by Calendly - Secure Alliance.
Q: I tried to find the medical questionnaire form in WSH Forms, and the form is locked. How do I submit a medical questionnaire?
A: Please complete and submit the medical questionnaire provided by Secure Alliance PS on their website. Please DO NOT send the questionnaire to the employee health department.
Q: Where do I send my completed WSH medical questionnaire?
A: For fit testing in 2023, employees seeking annual renewal should complete and submit the medical questionnaire on the Secure Alliance PS website. There is no need to print or bring the questionnaire, Secure Alliance PS will receive your results electronically and can access them for you when you arrive.
Q: I completed the fit test process and keep getting email reminders from WSH PLVS.
A: The Medical Services Office receives notifications weekly regarding staff who have completed their annual fit testing and updates the accounts. If you are still receiving email reminders after 14 days email email@example.com. You can wait for the MSO to receive the weekly update or you can scan your sheet/card from Secure Alliance to the MSO to have your account updated faster.
Q: All the required questions were answered on the medical questionnaire, but I cannot submit the form. Why can’t I submit the form?
A: Please ensure you have selected an answer for each question with an *. Once all selections are made, you should receive an on-screen notification that allows the orange “continue or complete” button to be selected.
Q: I was fit tested and told that I would need to get fit tested again during my birth month. Is this true and why?
A: Yes. We are trying to bring the annual fit test due dates in alignment with the other certificates and licenses that staff may need to renew, which are typically during an employee’s birth month. Moving the annual fit test due dates to the employee’s birth month also spreads out fit testing over the entire year, rather than peaking at certain months i.e., January and April, and May.
Q: My appointment was canceled and now my fit testing is past due, and appointments are only available next month. What should I do?
A: You may drop in for fit testing. Contact the safety office for the current fit testing schedule.
Q: How do I get a respirator to use, since there are no longer screening stations?
A: There is a supply of respirators and two PAPRs kept on each ward in the RN3s office and/or medical treatment room.
Q: I am a supervisor. How do I order masks and respirators for my employees?
A: PPE can be ordered by submitting a completed Consumable Inventory Order form to the Central Services Warehouse team at CENTRALSERVICE@dshs.wa.gov
Q: I could not be fit tested due to facial hair. What are the next steps?
A: If the fit test was not conducted or the attempt was not successful due to facial hair, shave as needed and return to try again at the next available fit testing or submit a reasonable accommodation if there is a medical or religious reason you are unable to be clean shaven to be fit tested. Using a PAPR requires being medically cleared and is not an alternative to shaving.
Q: I have facial hair. Can I just wear a PAPR?
A: Choosing not to shave does not bypass the fit testing process. You will need to either submit a reasonable accommodation request if there is a medical or religious reason or discuss the next steps with your supervisor.
Q: Who do I contact if I have questions about fit testing?
A: Email the safety office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How long does it take to complete the fit test?
A: The testing process itself can take between 10-30 minutes depending on how many respirators need to be tried and tested to pass the test. Usually, the process is completed within 15 minutes. Peak times, usually around shift changes, can result in a wait to be tested.
Q: Can I just complete the medical evaluation when I get to the fit testing office?
The system is set up to send your online form to a provider offsite who reviews it for approval. This process takes two business days to complete. You will receive an email notification when your medical evaluation has cleared. You can then make an appointment here or drop in during our drop-in times found on the calendar here. Frenzy days are offered for staff to complete everything the same day and are marked on the calendar as “FRENZY” when offered.
Q: What is a FRENZY?
Fit Test Frenzy days are offered in both Gage and Civil and allow staff to receive their medical evaluation clearance and fit test on the same day. If you attend a FRENZY event you do not need to have completed any forms prior to arriving for your fit test.
Q: How will I know if it is a FRENZY day?
The Fit Testing Schedule Calendar will be marked with Gage Frenzy or Civil Frenzy on the days that the event is offered. You can access the calendar here.
Q: How do I reach the Fit Testing Office?
You can call 3369 from any phone at WSH or dial 253-761-3369 from any phone outside WSH including your cell phone.