Due to the COVID-19 situation, more and more Companies have found themselves hunting high and low to purchase suitable masks that will go some way to protect against the virus.
One of the most common masks on the market is the KN95 (Chinese standard) mask. Similar to the K95 masks (US Standards), the KN95 mask is rated to capture 95% of tiny particles (0.3 micron particles, to be exact).
Until now it has been stated that KN95 and K95 standards are to be treated as equivalent. However after testing, the HSE have found that a substantial number of face masks, claiming to be of KN95 standards, provide an inadequate level of protection and are likely to be poor quality products accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.
Due to their findings, the HSE have now stated that KN95 must not be used as PPE at work as their effectiveness cannot be assured.
Masks that are not CE marked and cannot be shown to be compliant must be removed from supply immediately. If these masks have not been through the necessary safety assessments, their effectiveness in controlling risks to health cannot be assured for anyone buying or using them. They are unlikely to provide the protection expected or required.
If any are CE marked, suppliers must be able to demonstrate how they know the documentation and CE marking is genuine, supported by Notified Body documentation showing compliance with the essential health and safety requirements as required by the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (EU) 2016/425.
The full HSE bulletin is available HERE.