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HSE Guidance on Face Fit Testing during Covid-19

May 1, 2020 | Coronavirus, Face Fit Testing

wear a mask properly

it will save you

Safewell are Fit2Fit Accredited Face Fit Testers for qualitative (Portacount) and quantitative (taste test) face fit testing.

Face Fit Testing, Surgical Masks and Face Masks

There was a lot of talk and speculation about masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and there was confusion for some between the differences of a surgical mask, a face covering and an FFP3/FFP2 face mask. During the Pandemic The HSE updated its guidance on safely conducting face fit testing. This post was written at the time (May 2020) to help people understand masks and face fit testing. The content has been left has been left as it was originally written. 

There is a lot of talk and speculation about masks currently surrounding Covid-19. There is a clear difference between a surgical mask, a face covering and a face mask such as an FFP3 or FFP2.

The surgical mask may offer protection from the wearers breath being expelled and thus offering some protection to those around. A face covering is a homemade variation of the the same.

When people say face mask they are probably referring to a ‘dust mask’ style face mask and recently the filter level has been used a lot in describing these in the media- FFP3 or FFP2. This stands for Filtering Face Piece Particulate Filter ‘3’ or ‘2’. FFP3 is the higher level of filtration and is recommended, in relation to covid-19, for health care professions partaking in aerosol generating procedures – those with the highest likelihood of airborne release of Covid-19 from an infected person. The technical term for these types of masks is RPE – Respiratory Protective Equipment.

FFP3 masks are also used in many industrial and work related processed to protect against high hazard dust and aerosols silica, wood etc

If an FFP3 mask is used it specifically needs Face Fit Testing if used in the workplace and the HSE have recently released guidance on how those who carry out face fit testing, such as Safewell, can continue to do so safely as lockdown begins to easy and working activities gather momentum once more.

Face fit testing is not required for surgical masks or face coverings.

[Updated May 2022] The HSE guidance on Face Fit testing in May 2020 is no longer available but the HSE still have a Covid 19 page here

Face Fit Testing Background

A fit test should be carried out before anyone in the workplace wears RPE for the first time. Inadequate fit can reduce the protection provided and lead to immediate or long-term ill-health or can even put the RPE wearer’s life in danger. A fit test should be repeated whenever there is a change to the RPE type, size, model or material or whenever there is a change to the circumstances of the wearer that could alter the fit of the RPE; for example:

  • weight loss or gain
  • substantial dental work
  • any facial changes (scars, moles, effects of ageing etc) around the face seal area
  • facial piercings
  • introduction or change in other head-worn personal protective equipment (PPE)

There is no stipulated frequency for re-testing, and you don’t need one if there are no changes in these circumstances.

Safewell offer face fit testing at our offices in Royal Wootton Bassett for individuals or groups, and we regularly travel to customer sites to complete face fit testing. We also do RPE training which can run alongside the fit testing.

HSE campaign highlights dangers from metalworking fluids

Businesses are being warned to make sure their staff are safe when working with metalworking fluids or coolants. Manufacturing businesses should implement control measures and carry out health surveillance checks with occupational health professionals.

HF 800 SD Half Mask Fit Testing

Safewell is please to announce we can now test the HF 800/HF 800 SD Half Mask from 3M. 3M have been a market leader in RPE for a long time and produce quality equipment.

FFA Level 2 Award in First Aid for Mental Health Course (RQF)

FFA Level 2 Award in First Aid for Mental Health Course (RQF)

Do Lone Workers Need First Aid Training?

Do Lone Workers need First Aid Training? to answer this question first check the work activity risk assessment and if there is injury risk that is impacted by lone working then first aid training for lone workers is advised. This may include some first aid self treatment in the training.

Fire Risk Assessment, Fire Evacuation and Fire Marshal Training for Sawmill

The Timber saw mill company had only an in-house Fire risk assessment and understood that it didn’t adequately cover the fire risks of the business. They contacted Safewell for a Fire risk assessment from a competent Fire Risk assessor to identify what they needed to do to ensure the premises and also staff training was compliant for the fire risks that they had.

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We are here to make health and safety accessible for everyone, Call on 01793 852951 to get in touch. It will be much easier with Safewell helping you. 

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Glenn Lawton
December 23, 2021

White Stuff Ltd

Safewell has been working alongside us for several years now and I have had the pleasure of working with them for the past few years. They are always professional with their approach and always on hand if we require any ad-hoc advice to support our health and safety needs. I cannot recommend them enough and would definitely suggest to anyone looking for advice or services in regards to anything health and safety related to contact Safewell.

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