HSE Occupational lung disease eBulletin: 29 April 2022

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HSE eBulletin

HSE safety alert issued: ear loop masks/respirators

A safety alert, issued on 26 April 2022, advises that HSE does not recommend using ear loop masks/respirators as tight-fitting RPE at work.


New HSE research has shown that respirators/masks which rely on ear loops to hold the respirator/mask in place, do not protect people adequately when used as tight-fitting respiratory protective equipment (RPE).


This includes any respirators/masks which use clips, ‘snuggers’ or other means of tightening ear loops, even if they have CE or UKCA marks.


View the safety alert for more information. 


The safety alert asks Dutyholders to revisit their Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) risk assessment and consider their RPE provision to ensure it is adequate, suitable for the user and the activity to be undertaken.


If you’re required to wear RPE at work to protect your lung health, then it is essential to discuss this with your employer.


Tight-fitting RPE relies on having a good seal with the wearer’s face and you must have passed a ‘face fit test’ to ensure the RPE you are wearing will provide the protection required.


For more on suitable forms of RPE you can visit our RPE website.


In addition we have more information at the following downloadable publications: 

International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP) Conference

HSE will presenting at the ISRP Conference 2022, which runs from 9 -12 May 2022.


Topics covered at the conference will include:

  • the work of HSE’s PPE Task Force during COVID-19
  • work undertaken on ear loop respirator/masks

Register for the conference here

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