Choosing the right mask to suit your workplace and employees is an essential part of working safely in the current COVID- 19 environment.
Those tasked with the procurement of masks will want to understand about the safety benefits, sustainability, and legitimacy of supply, as well as the financial implications. For many buyers, sourcing masks may be a new and unfamiliar product line.
There is a wide range of mask options. To assist buyers, we outline the main types and their recommended use:
This type of mask or cotton face covering is a non-medical, non-PPE option. Its use is intended to complement social distancing and hygiene measures in the workplace or other environments. In England, from the 15th of June, it is mandatory to wear a face-covering on public transport. UK wide, wearing a face-covering is recommended where consistently maintaining the required 2m social distancing is difficult, e.g. in shops or some workplace environments. The benefits are more to do with user comfort and limiting the virus spread through droplet transmission.
This type of mask is manufactured from three-ply cotton and is available with either ear or head loops. It’s washable and reusable and can be produced in corporate colours and branded. The design is BSI (British Standards Institution) endorsed. This option is an excellent sustainable, zero-waste choice. This mask is also available in a child-size.
A lip reading option is also available with a clear window.
These masks are certified items of PPE. As such, they require to meet specific European testing criteria. The UK market is currently flooded with illegal, fake FFP2 and FFP3 masks. Choosing a BSIF (British Safety Industry Federation) registered supplier will provide buyers with the necessary confidence to source these masks. These masks are rated for single shift use (NR) or double shift use (R).
The FFP2 mask would typically be used in non-medical, heavy industry environments where workers are exposed to dust particulate. In the current COVID environment, these masks are also being used to support workplace social distancing measures. These masks are disposable.
The FFP3 mask provides a higher level of particulate filtering. It is the first choice mask in a medical or clinical care setting or in industrial environments, where heavy particulate contamination is evident, e.g. engineering. This is also a disposable item.
This is disposable, single-use face mask (face coverings) is made from three layers of skin-friendly polypropylene to cover the mouth and nose. They have an elasticated ear loop fastening and an adjustable nose bridge for best fit.
Each mask conforms to the EN 14683: 2019 standard and offers 95% bacterial filtration efficiency.
This mask has replaceable filters to support repeat use. Particulate filters will be rated as FFP1, FFP2, or FFP3. Other filters are available should you have vapour or odour risks. These would be used in the same environment as disposable masks and provide a more cost-effective solution than disposable masks if regular wearing of masks is required by the same individual. Filter life will vary depending upon the application.
Users should be aware that there is a requirement to maintain the mask daily and keep a log of the daily maintenance carried out, logbook and instructions would be provided with the half mask.
Please note: the use of face masks does not provide protection against coronavirus (COVID-19) but could help to minimise the risk of transmission to other people in some circumstances. Face masks should not be used in place of social distancing and hand washing, or in place of self-isolation.
For further guidance concerning minimising the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19), contact us to arrange a conversation with one of our experienced PPE consultants: