Design Reality

How do you know if your respirator fits correctly?

There’s been a lot in the news recently about respirators in the fight against the pandemic - the need for them, the design of them but perhaps less about how to ensure an effective fit so they give the vital protection they are designed to provide.

As experts in the design of PPE and RPE for over 20 years, we truly understand respirators and most importantly for the end user we know exactly how to ensure the best possible fit to provide the best possible protection.

Over our 20 years we’ve brought respirators from the initial design concept and all the way through the product design process to produce award-winning respirators for our customers.

The Corpro full and half face mask systems are widely used in the medical, construction, industrial and emergency service industries. We’ve also been the key design partner to Scott 3M over the years developing their wide range of respiratory products that go into the most challenging of environments like mining and firefighting.

The masks we design are world leading equipment that not only offer protection from the dangerous particles and gases which are present in the environments in which operatives work, but also provide comfort.

Designing masks and accessories demands an extensive understanding of the people wearing masks, the environments they work in and a thorough knowledge of global health and safety requirements and legislation today. We draw upon our design knowledge but also our relationships with the leading bodies in the field of respiratory protection, like BSIF (British Safety Industry Federation), BSI, INSPEC, MHRA and many other individual experts to ensure the product meets the highest of standards and is fully approved.

Our materials and processes knowledge means we can meet the challenge with a variety of solutions.  Current requirements to speed up development times means that we’ve used our expertise in additive manufacturing to produce parts which have benefited from rapid lead times and lower production set up costs. We’ve also taken products through the important certification process which means they are fully approved for use.

In order to see the whole process from all angles we design and produce the ISO Heads used by many of the world’s leading test houses and we are fully certified Fit2Fit testers.  Being an accredited Fit2Fit testers means that we see first-hand the problems and issues that untrained users come up against when wearing respiratory protection.

Our expertise in this field has also led us to identify the need for a new type of innovative technology to ensure the correct fitting of RPE for every single use. In response we designed FitCheck® Technology, the world’s first mask quantitative fit check system, designed to alert tight fitting respiratory protection users to leaks in their masks. It provides a quantitative check that can be performed by the user each time a respirator is worn, giving valuable peace of mind. So important is this technology, it has been recognised in the prestigious Red Dot Awards 2020 and won the Product Design Award.

This fight against Covid-19 has put many front-line workers in situations they never dreamt they would have to encounter during their normal working day.  One of those is being fitted to wear a respirator and to then have to wear that respirator for hours whilst carrying out their work.  The users may have less than 30 minutes with a Fit Testers to get to know and understand how to use their mask and if they’ve never experienced respirators before, this time could have felt like a blur.  Good PPE needs to do its job properly every single time it’s used and therefore we want to give you our top tops from our team of Respiratory Product Design experts to ensure a correct and safe fit every time:

  • A tight fit doesn’t necessarily mean the right fit – over tightening your mask can sometimes create small gaps in the seal which will reduce your mask’s effectiveness
  • Keep an eye out for glasses steaming up – this could mean you have a gap at the top of your mask where your breath is coming out
  • Check the airflow around your cheeks – if you feel any air coming in you may not have the full seal you need
  • Ensure clean, clear and dry facial skin every time – even the slightest stubble may prevent a good seal
  • Disposable means disposable – never re-use a disposable mask, not even once
  • Straps to hold secure – have you checked the head straps are securely fastened to hold the mask in place?

To find out more about our RPE and PPE experience, or FitCheck® Technology visit our work section, please email us as