Northwest Maritime Academy Offers Fit Testing Service
The Northwest Maritime Academy at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard is now offering respirator fit testing.
This safety check, required annually by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is being offered by experienced mariner Benjamin Garman, the new administrator of the Northwest Maritime Academy in Gig Harbor.
“OSHA also requires a physical examination, so get that first and then come to us for a fit test,” said Garman, who holds a 200 Ton Near Coastal captain’s license and has worked on container ships as an Able Bodied Seaman since 2008.
Respirator fit testing is required for “anybody working where you need a respirator,” Garman points out. That includes people working on ships, piers, at boatyards, machine shops, construction sites and as painters, welders and miners, to name a few.
Garman is offering both Quantitative Fit Testing and Qualitative Fit Testing Monday through Friday at the Northwest Maritime Academy, 3177 Harborview Drive in Gig Harbor. The tests, which cost $80 and $75 respectively, take about 30 minutes.
Fit Testing Required for Anyone Working Where Respirators Are Needed
“I’m not just targeting mariners here,” says the new maritime academy administrator. “I’m targeting people in the medical profession, construction and factory workers, skilled laborers — anybody dealing with hazardous substances.”
Unfortunately, people tend to let their required fit test certification lapse, Garman continued, and that carries “quite a penalty” — both with OSHA and a person’s future health.
“If you don’t wear your gloves to work you are going to feel it right away because your skin will burn from exposure to something,” Capt. Garman said. “But if you don’t wear your respirator, or if it doesn’t fit correctly, you might not know for 20 years until you get lymphoma or any kind of cancer. By then, it’s too late.
“So here we are,” he said, “doing fit testing in Gig Harbor, right downtown.”
For more information about the Northwest Maritime Academy and classes and services offered at the Academy @ Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard, call Ben Garman at (253) 358-2447.