Skip to content Skip to navigation menu

Make Sure You Comply With New Face Mask Legislation

29 February 2024

Filtering facepiece (FFP) respirators can be cup-shaped or fold-flat depending on the wearer's preference and are used in situations where they need to seal around the face, to prevent the inward leakage of harmful substances.

Research by the HSE has shown that the effectiveness of respirators/masks, which are designed to fit tightly on the face (RPE), cannot be assured when they rely on ear loops, instead of head straps – even if they're used with clips or 'snuggers' – so at Arco we have long advised against their use.

The Department of Business and Trade Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) puts regulations in place to protect people from unsafe and non-compliant products and ensures consumers and businesses can buy with confidence. It has therefore now imposed a Restriction on tight fitting, half face masks, which means to be compliant with the PPE Regulations* you need to make sure your FFP face masks don't use ear loops to hold them in place.

Airborne particles in the workplace may be small, but they can lead to huge respiratory problems for your workforce. With around 19,000 new cases of breathing or lung problems reported annually it's vital to ensure your respiratory protection is airtight. If you are already purchasing your FFP face masks from Arco you can be fully reassured that they will only feature straps which sit behind the head.

When selecting face masks, it's important to pick the correct Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) for your workplace hazards, but anyone wearing tight-fitting facepieces must also be face fit tested. This test ensures their mask fits correctly, a tight seal is achieved and so provides the expected level of protection.

At Arco, we have the expertise to ensure your respiratory management is airtight, and as your expert partner provide analysis and insight on the latest industry developments to help you to keep your business safe. Arco is a market leader in providing respiratory management solutions, that also includes consultancy and risk management support, workplace air monitoring, face fit testing, lung function tests and much more.

Click here to read more expert advice on selecting respiratory protection.


*The Department for Business and Trade Notice states that the EN 149:2001 + A1:2009 standard does not satisfy the essential health and safety requirements as defined in Annex II to Regulation 2016/245 and the Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018 (as incorporated into UK law) as regards this type of product and should therefore be published with restriction and the extent of the presumption of conformity does not cover the respirators/masks which rely on ear loops.