fbpx

COVID-19: Urgent KN95 Face Mask Warning

image

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have put out an urgent safety alert warning people of the potential danger of using face masks claiming to be KN95 approved.

Due to the current demand for respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE) caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a substantial number of fraudulent and/or unregulated masks have entered the UK market.

 

In the UK, Filtering Face Pieces (disposable respirator masks) require CE marking and certification in accordance with meeting the European standard BS EN149:2001+A1:2009. Without a CE mark, it is illegal for PPE to be sold or supplied in the UK and EU markets. *

KN95 is a self-assessed performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006, undertaken by the manufacturer. While broadly similar to the European standard for FFP2 face masks, there is no independent assessment or certification required for the rating to be used, and therefore does not say anything as to the quality of the materials or effectiveness of the mask.

According to a recent HSE press release, as many as 90% of PPE concerns received by the HSE are in relation to KN95 masks, which are often accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork. To date, the HSE has quarantined around 1.5 million KN95 masks, and prevented a further 25 million items falsely claiming to be FFP3 respirators.

 

A spokesperson for the HSE said: “Respirators 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.”

For more information on Face Masks, Coverings and RPE read our last blog ‘Understanding Face Masks, or speak with one of our RPE Experts today.

 


 

*Due to demand, there is a temporary exception to CE marking on PPE allowing the NHS and other healthcare services to use non-CE marked N95 respirator masks, which are manufactured and tested in accordance with US standards. This is a temporary measure for healthcare services and is under strict assessment by the UK government and HSE.

Rick Brunt, director of operational strategy for the HSE, said: “The KN95 facemask should not be purchased or used.

“KN95 has not been a principal source of PPE for the NHS, who has already made the decision not to supply this respirator to frontline clinicians fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“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 realising 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.”

RELATED POSTS

  • FitCheck is coming…

    READ MORE
  • HSE publishes work-related illness and injury statistics for 2021

    READ MORE
  • The Revolution is Here

    READ MORE
  • Healthcare News – November 2021

    READ MORE
  • 100% of frontline healthcare workers to be double vaccinated

    READ MORE
  • The Revolution is Coming…

    READ MORE
  • The most dangerous moustache…

    READ MORE
  • Healthcare News – October 2021

    READ MORE
  • Winter PAPR Protection

    READ MORE
  • NHS Issues National Patient Safety Alert for Valved Respirators

    READ MORE
  • The Deadly Tik Tok Trend No One’s Warned You About

    READ MORE
  • Healthcare News – September 2021

    READ MORE
  • Infection Prevention Conference 2021

    READ MORE
  • Full Support Healthcare Donates Over a Million Items of PPE to International Aid Charity

    READ MORE
  • See You Soon

    READ MORE
  • Healthcare News – August 2021

    READ MORE
  • The Continued Need for COVID Secure Workplaces

    READ MORE
  • Full Support Healthcare Donates More Than 33.8 Million Items of PPE to Good Causes

    READ MORE
  • The Health & Safety Event 2021

    READ MORE
  • HSE Releases Updated Guidance for Working with Asbestos

    READ MORE