HSENI have been informed that a substantial number of face masks, claiming to be of KN95 standards, provide an inadequate level of protection and are likely to be poor quality products accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.
The HSE in Great Britain have identified KN95 masks as suspect and locally arranged testing has confirmed they would not meet requirements, including to protect against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. About 90% of the PPE concerns and queries currently being received by HSE involve KN95 masks which are often accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork.
These face masks may also be known as filtering face-piece respirators. KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006, the requirements of which are broadly the same as the European standard BSEN149:2001+A1:2009 for FFP2 facemasks. However, there is no independent certification or assurance of their quality and products manufactured to KN95 rating are declared as compliant by the manufacturer.
HSE have indicated that a lot of people, mainly in sectors outside of healthcare, have bought these facemasks without realising they are non-compliant and are concerned that people wearing them are not being protected from breathing in harmful substances in the way they expect.
Domestic, European and international organisations continue to raise concerns regarding KN95 masks, including details of counterfeit and illegal products. HSENI is working to remove them from the supply chain with colleagues in HSE(GB), the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), Border Force, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Trading Standards to identify manufacturers and suppliers of these masks and prevent them entering the UK.
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