Health & Safety: COVID-19

Face masks
Does your facemask fit properly? Will it work effectively? Is there any point in even wearing a face mask?

Experts from HSE and PHE have carried out a rapid review of the evidence supporting the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare and in the context of COVID-19. The conclusions drawn from the review are based on the limited studies available, particularly in the area of qualitative research.

One of the key findings (in healthcare settings) was:

• No material difference between the N95 respirator and the FFP2 disposable respirator. They provide comparable protection against Coronavirus as long as the wearer has passed a face fit test

What is the face fit test?
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 (RPE) can protect the wearer.

Putting a mask on (Ensure you read the manufactures instructions too):
• Ensure your face is clean and shaved in order to form an effective seal. If you do have facial hair it should not protrude from the mask.
• As everyone should know by now – wash your hands!
• Use a mirror to help put the mask on or someone can supervise whilst keeping the appropriate distance of 2 metres (NHS guidelines).
• Some masks have nose clips so be sure to press this firmly to the shape of your nose.

Fit check:
• Ensure your hands are clean
• Cup hands over the filter material without affecting the fit of the mask and breathe in. The respirator should suck down hard on the face when you breathe in sharply.
• Breathe sharply out. You should not feel any leaks around the edges of the respirator.
• Repeat until confident it is a good fit.

Your mask should be discarded if it is damaged, damp, uncomfortable, difficult to breathe in or if the facial seal is compromised.

The HSE are regularly updating their website with the latest information and advice for employees and employers. Please visit for more information or to subscribe to their email updates.

If you would like to discuss any of this further please get in touch with Amy Fisher 0116 2423400 or

Blog Post From: Amy Fisher

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