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HSE warns against use of KN95 face masks

KN95 face mask

Safety alert issued over substantial quantity of inadequate and poor-quality face masks on UK market

THE Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety alert warning all employers and suppliers not to purchase or use KN95 facemasks (also known as filtering facepiece respirators) as personal protective equipment (PPE).

KN95 is a performance rating broadly equivalent to the EU standard for FFP2 facemasks, but products manufactured to KN95 requirements rely on a self-declaration of compliance by the manufacturer. There is no independent certification or assurance of their quality and the HSE says they are often accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.

Rick Brunt, the HSE’s director of operational strategy said: ‘The KN95 facemask should not be purchased or used. We have found that the lack of independent testing has contributed to there being a substantial quantity of inadequate and poor-quality masks on the market, claiming to comply with the KN95 standard.

‘We understand a lot of people, mainly in sectors outside of healthcare, have bought these facemasks without realizing they are non-compliant. We are concerned that people wearing them are not being protected from breathing in harmful substances in the way they expect. Protective equipment must protect.’

The HSE is working with colleagues in the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), Border Force and Trading Standards to remove these masks from the supply chain and to identify manufacturers and suppliers of these masks to prevent them entering the UK.

A copy of the alert can be found here.

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