A safety alert, issued on 26 April 2022, advises that HSE does now no longer advise the use of ear loop mask/respirators as tight-fitting RPE at work. New HSE studies has proven that respirators/mask which depend upon ear loops to keep the respirator/masks in place, “Do not protect people adequately when used as tight-fitting respiratory protective equipment (RPE)”.
This consists of any respirators/masks which use clips, ‘snuggers’ or different methods of tightening ear loops, even if they may have CE or UKCA marks.
The alert asks Dutyholders to revisit their Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) risk assessment and check their RPE provision to ensure it's suitable, appropriate for the consumer and activity.
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.
You can read the safety alert in full here.