COVID-19 Face masks

COVID-19 Face masks

From today, 15th June 2020, it is compulsory to wear a face mask when using public transport in England and advisory everywhere else, this is part of the Governments latest initiative to get the country back to work and limit the risk of catching and spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Passengers without face covering will be asked to wear one or will be refused onboard or could face a fine of £100.

There are some exemptions such as people with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under 11. These are all exempt from the rule.

Face masks will be available for free at railway stations and the government have hundreds of thousands to issue however people can still purchase their own. The government have also suggested that people can make their own face protection by using a scarf or bandana.

However the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are warning over the use of some face masks.

The HSE have warned over the use of KN95 masks and state they are not suitable PPE.

The crux of the matter is that the KN95 performance rating relies on self-declaration of compliance by manufacturers. There is no independent verification that the products comply with the standard, according to HSE.

HSE reports that approximately 90% of queries and concerns surrounding PPE involve KN95 masks, with the HSE finding many sold with fraudulent paperwork. So far, the HSE has quarantined over 1.5 million KN95 face masks.

Phil Owen, Service Director Profession Relationships at the Chartered Trading Standards Institue (CTSI), said, "Although the KN95 face masks are available to purchase, they are not PPE as they do not meet PPE regulations and therefore will not necessarily protect people against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic".

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