HSE Report on Fit Testing of CE Marked Ear Loop Respirators

June 28, 2023
Contact us
Request a call back

Following the previous safety alert released April 2022 the HSE has now released specific details of research undertaken regarding the effectiveness of different styles of filtering facepiece (FFP) respirators / masks as respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

In the previous safety alert the HSE warned that respirators and facemasks that rely on ear loops to hold them in place are not effective at preventing the inhalation of fumes, chemicals or other hazardous substances. In order for RPE to be effective it is important that the equipment provides a tight fit and seal around the mouth and nose in order to prevent the wearer breathing contaminated air. Often RPE equipment using ear loops does not achieve this and as a result does not protect individuals effectively. These types of masks became particularly widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research report released by the HSE reiterates the points made within the safety alert and provides details of the investigation undertaken by the HSE. Overall the HSE carried out 90 tests on 9 different models of CE marked respirators with ear loops. Each of these models varied in elements such as whether the ear loops could be adjusted. Overall participants in this testing reported that the respirators fitted too loosely on their faces and could feel the leakage of air at the nose and face seals. The respirators also consistently failed to meet the HSE’s pass rate for effective RPE equipment.

The HSE state that the research released in this report was what led them to release the safety alert in April 2022.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.