20220616 position paper fitting respiratory protection

Main points of attention

PPE (incl. RPE) is the last element in risk control hierarchy --> In practice often the only or primary mitigation of the risk (mainly small and medium enterprises and healthcare sector).

  • Based on 89/656/EC PPE (incl. RPE) must fit the wearer correctly --> Not implemented in all Member States by obligatory face-fit testing.
  • CE marked “Ear loops” masks will not provide the expected protection for wearers --> Need to strengthen the enforcement of fit assessment (mandatory face-fitting tests are the solution, this for all types of tight fitting respiratory protection).
  • Some European countries are consciously reacting --> Widespread implementation of the approach based on experience from countries and ESF local organizations (UK, Italy, and partially France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Spain). Also outside Europe several countries (e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) made face-fit testing mandatory while others (e.g. India, China) made it a recommended practice.
  • A revision of the standard EN 149 should include a better definition for ‘adjustable head harness’ in order to make sure that the fit of the mask on humans can be achieved.

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