Personal protective equipment

  • Filtering facepieces
  • Protective clothing

In many healthcare activities there are special hazards making it necessary to wear suitable work clothes and personal protective equipment (PPE). The characteristic feature of personal protective equipment (PPE) is its special protective function against one or more risks. It serves to protect the attending persons/staff and prevents the contamination from being carried over by the person or clothing, thereby serving to protect the patient from the risk of infection.

Among other things, we test respirators against solid as well as liquid aerosols and protective clothing against infectious agents. Filtering facepiece respirators (FFR), sometimes called single-use respirators, are subject to various legal standards worldwide. These standards define specific required physical properties and characteristics so that respirators can claim compliance with the respective standard. In pandemic or emergency situations, health authorities often refer to these standards if they provide recommendations for respirators and, for example, state that certain population groups should use an "N95, FFP2, or comparable respirator".

This European standard EN 149:2001 + A1:2009 defines minimum requirements for filtering facepieces (masks that cover the nose, mouth, and chin) as respirators for protection against particulate matter, apart from escape purposes. These masks serve to protect against solid as well as liquid aerosols. Field of application and classification of the FFP respirators (the abbreviation "FFP" stands for "filtering facepiece"). The classification (FFP1, FFP2, or FFP3) is determined from the filtering performance of the mask as well as on the basis of the maximum permissible leakage. This is determined from the permeability of the filtering material and openings in places where the mask is not sitting precisely on the face.

This European standard (EN 14126) defines minimum requirements and test methods for reusable and limited-use protective clothing against infectious agents. Clothing worn by surgical working groups or medical drapes for patients to prevent cross-contamination during surgical procedures do not fall within the field of application of this standard.