Purchasing & Wearing FR Facial Protection
Line workers and other industries whose employees wear flame-resistant PPE are quickly developing new requirements in the wake of the COVID19 crisis. Many utilities are now requiring, or strongly recommending that their staff wear FR facial protection when working as part of an effective social distancing program.
GUIDELINES TO PURCHASING & WEARING FR FACIAL PROTECTION
Most FR face wear products such as masks or other styles of facial protection are made from the same trusted FR fabrics that are used to make workwear including shirts or pants. Like other garments, but perhaps more importantly because facial protection comes in contact with the user’s nose and mouth, it is very important to select your PPE from a trusted brand.
PURCHASING FROM A TRUSTED BRAND/SOURCE
Due to the extremely high demand for these products in the wake of COVID19, new suppliers who claim to be offering FR products may be providing PPE items that are not properly built for FR protection. Even worse, there may be PPE constructed from fabrics that are not safe to breath through due to the chemistry used to make the products flame resistant.
TIPS FOR SOURCING, WEARING & WASHING FR FACIAL PROTECTION
Here are some key points to consider when purchasing or using FR facial protection:
- Choose facial PPE that is made by a known and trusted brand
- Know what fabric is being used to construct the PPE (including trim items such as the strap fabric for face masks)
- Inherent FR fabrics may be safer to breathe through than treated FR products. This is because treated FR products often have trace amounts of residual chemistry on the PPE when new.
- Properly caring for your PPE helps it last longer and ensures cleanliness. Launder your PPE facial protection according to the care instructions found on the label or the manufacturer’s website.
- When choosing facial protection make sure to select a product that fits you properly and is not restrictive to breathe through. While both knit and woven facial PPE options are available, fabrics with stretch may offer better fit and comfort. PPE that is difficult to breathe through may also contribute to heat stress and worker fatigue.
- Facial PPE that provides proper coverage around your nose and face will improve its performance in blocking airborne virus that can be expelled from an infected person from talking, coughing, or sneezing. There are a percentage of people with COVID-19 who do not show symptoms of the disease, which is why wearing facial PPE on jobsites is a best practice.
- Wash your facial PPE often-to-daily to remove any airborne contaminants. If possibly, keep extra pieces of facial protection on hand for when you are unable to wash the item.