A4 sized face shields too narrow for PPE

A4 Face Shields too narrow to offer protection

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to lots of innovative solutions for PPE equipment, in particular visors, often referred to as face shields.

Some, made with 3D printers at home or laser-cut designs just don't cut it for safety, according to the British Standards Institute.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) says 'A4-sized face shields do not always protect healthcare workers' faces from exposure to Covid-19.

Many communities have started making their own to help frontline workers and these include 3D-printing and laser-cut designs. Some incorporate A4-sized acetate transparent paper, designed for overhead projectors, to make the visor.

"People are trying to use materials that are readily available," said Nathan Shipley, PPE group certification manager at the BSI.

"Using acetates from an overhead projector is a quick fix, but the width of the acetate screens isn't wide enough.

"Some people say, 'any PPE is better than no PPE', but if you are wearing something you think will protect you and it won't, you are in more danger."

The BSI looks at three key areas when testing PPE face shields:

  • How clear the visor is to look through
  • The dimension of the headband - to minimise pressure headaches
  • The area of coverage - how far around the face is protected from droplets or splatter

It follows the European standard EN166, which determines the size of the face area that needs protection.

The BSI has approved 21 face shield designs so far.

Fortunately two of the models provided by Workmask have both had CE certificates issued by the British Standards Institute for medical PPE use, which means they are suitable for frontline and key workers, in non-surgical situations.

The Staysafe visor and Victory (Medi-1st) visors have CE certificates issued by the British Standards Institute and can be purchased here.

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