HSE issues safety alert against using KN95 facemask as PPE

HSE issues safety alert against using KN95 face mask as PPE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning against the use of KN95 facemasks as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

A safety alert has been issued urging all employers and suppliers not to purchase or use KN95 face masks as PPE. The alert was issued on Thursday 11 June 2020.

KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006 that is broadly equivalent to the EU standard for FFP2 face masks. Products manufactured to KN95 requirements rely on a self-declaration of compliance by the manufacturer. There is no independent certification or assurance of their quality. Personal protective equipment (PPE) cannot be sold or supplied as PPE unless it is CE marked

This respirator has been identified as suspect by HSE experts and locally arranged testing has confirmed they would not meet requirements, including to protect against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. About 90% of the PPE concerns and queries currently being received by HSE involve KN95 masks which are often accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.

HSE has quarantined around 1.5 million KN95 masks, prevented 25 million items claiming to be FFP3 respirators entering the supply chain and prevented a further four lines consisting of many millions of items entering the supply chain.

“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 face masks 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.”


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