The HSE have issued a safety alert warning employers against the use of KN95 facemasks as Personal Protective Equipment.
Except where it has been organised by the UK Government for use by NHS or other healthcare workers where assessments have been undertaken by HSE as the Market Surveillance Authority, items can only be sold as Personal protective equipment if they are CE marked.
The HSE advise that while KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006, (the requirements of which are broadly the same as the European standard BSEN149:2001+A1:2009 for FFP2 facemasks), there is no independent certification or assurance of their quality and products manufactured to KN95 rating are declared as compliant by the manufacturer.
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 and as such they are unlikely to provide the protection expected or required.
Where facemasks are CE marked, the HSE further advise that suppliers must be able to demonstrate how they know the documentation and CE marking is genuine, supported by Notified Body documentation showing compliance with the essential health and safety requirements.
Full details of the safety alert can be found on the HSE’s website