The Health and Safety Executive has issued advice to essential industrial workers and companies warning them to ensure that so-called ‘tight-fitting respirators’ need to be sealed and checked.
“Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the respiratory protective equipment can protect the wearer,” said a spokesperson.
In order to ensure fitting is done correctly, the HSE is advising wearers to use a mirror or ask a colleague to observe the process. However, it added that care should be taken not to create a health risk by failure to observe the new socil distancing protocols.
Fit-testers should follow Government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from this distance and deliver any instructions verbally”
People who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are isolating should not attend a face fit test, the HSE emphasised.
To minimise the risk of transmission it released its guidelines for good practice. Rules include:
fit-testers following social distancing guidelines and deliver any instructions verbally
those being fitted should keep their respirators on if closer observation is required
both parties should wash their hands before and after in line with nhs guidelines
those being fit tested with non-disposable masks should clean the mask themselves before and immediately after the test using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe
test facepieces that cannot be adequately disinfected (e.g. disposable half masks) should not be used by more than one individual.
fit testers should wear disposable gloves when undertaking cleaning
immediately dispose of used gloves, disposable masks, cleaning wipes in a waste bin