Surgical face masks: What does tested to EN 14683:2019 mean?

surgical type iir masks meaning of EN 14683

Since 2019, face masks have become a day-to-day item for all of us. Especially in crowded environments we want the best protection available. In some other European countries, it is even compulsory to wear a surgical face mask on public transport.

As customers and staff alike rely on the responsibility of businesses, it is paramount to understand the difference between different types of face masks. Every business wants to offer the best protection for everyone involved, but even the UK Government has shown how easy it is to order PPE that is not offering the standards required. For a business this would either mean a loss, as the substandard supplies can’t be used, or it will offer a substandard protection to customers and employees – something no reputable business will do willingly.

What is a surgical face mask?

A surgical face mask (also known as medical or procedure mask) is a device covering the mouth, nose and chin ensuring a barrier which limits the transition of an infective agent (like viruses) in hospitals and other environments. They are used to prevent large respiratory droplets and splashes from reaching the mouth and the nose of the wearer and help reduce and/or control at the source. Surgical face masks comply with the requirements defined in European Standard EN 14683:2019+AC:2019.

What are the performance requirements for surgical face masks according to EN 14683:2019+AC:2019?

Surgical face masks have to meet the following requirements to conform with EN 14683:2019+AC:2019

CharacteristicsType IªType IIType IIR
Bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE), %>95>98>98
Differential pressure, Pa/cm2<40<40<60
Splash resistance (kPa)Not requiredNot required>16.0
Microbial cleanliness (cfu/g)<30<30<30

 What do these characteristics mean?

What does BFE mean for surgical face masks?

BFE is the abbreviation for Bacterial Filtration Efficiency.

The Bacterial Filtration Efficiency test determines the filtration efficiency by comparing the bacterial control counts to test article effluent counts. The test is conducted using staphylococcus aureus as the challenge organism. After the filtration media is preconditioned, a liquid suspension of S. aureus is aerosolized and delivered to the filtration media at a constant flow rate of 28.3 litres per minute (LPM) or 1 cubic foot per minute (CFM).

According to EN 14683:2019+AC:2019 the filtration efficiency for surgical face masks type IIR has to be above 98%. This is the highest standard for this kind of masks and this is the standard Home Shield Products type IIR face masks are tested and certified for.

What does the differential pressure mean for face masks?

The Differential Pressure test, often shortened to DP, measures how easily air is passed from one side of the mask to the other. This indicates how easily the wearer can breathe through the mask, which is indicated by Delta P (the pressure difference). The higher Delta P results in better filtration, while still providing comfortable breathing for the wearer.

What is the splash resistance for Type IIR face masks?

The splash resistance is the resistance of the medical face mask to penetration of splashes of liquid and it has to conform to the minimum value of 16 kilopascal for Type IIR. The property of splash resistance is only tested for the highest standard of surgical face masks, Type IIR.

What is microbial cleanliness and what does it mean for face masks?

The Microbial Cleanliness is a measurement to identify the total number of viable micro-organisms on a face mask using an extraction method. The total viable aerobic microbial and fungal load is determined. The test indicates the total bioburden per individual mask and based on the mask weight, the total bioburden per gram.

Highest quality type IIR face masks for your business

There a lot of reasons why you should look for a responsible supplier for face masks for your business. Your staff and your customers rely on you to provide the best protection to keep them safe.

If you have any question about our products, want to visit our manufacturing site in Nottingham or have a price inquiry, please contact us.

Why your business should have a reliable supplier for face masks

public transport face mask why

Over the past year the coronavirus crisis has led to drastic changes in people’s behaviour, with everyday practices like handshakes replaced with elbow bumps and social distancing and wearing a face mask becoming crucial tools in curbing transmission.

But why should you now make sure that you have a reliable supplier for face masks in the UK?

The vaccination of our population has started and the end (which we all can’t wait for) for all these restrictions is near. Right?

Unfortunately, not.

Some of the measurements will stay for longer and some behaviour will stay with us for good.

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How to use a surgical face mask

UK certified and MHRA approved face masks made in Nottingham UK

Wearing a surgical face mask (Type IIR face mask) is mandatory in many health and care settings. But if surgical face masks are not used in the correct way it can jeopardise the efforts of stopping the virus to spread.

The WHO advises to make wearing a mask a normal part of your day-to-day routine and use internalise the proper use, correct storing and appropriate disposal of surgical masks.

The help you and your staff to use your type IIR face masks in the appropriate way we have summarised the WHO advise for the use of surgical face masks for you.

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What face masks should I use?

when to wear a face mask in England

This is a question a lot of people ask themselves and there is often confusion between what a face mask is and can do and what a face covering is for.

Face coverings are for use by the general public in places where people come into contact with other people. Face coverings intent to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Face masks are PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and have a high filtration rate to offer a higher level of protection.

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Production of IIR Face Masks made in Nottingham has started

Shows The Type IIR Face Masks Made In The UK By Home Shield Products Ltd

It was a challenging journey for Home Shield Products Ltd, from just the idea of providing UK made face masks to having an operating production line with a weekly capacity of 500,000 face masks.

The journey to become a certified IIR face mask production facility

Appalled by the shortage and the often substandard quality of imported face masks, in March 2020 Dr Abraze Khalique and  a few like- minded local business men developed the plan to produce high quality face masks in the UK, right here in Nottingham.

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Face Masks when and where to wear in England

when to wear a face mask in England

This information is according to the government advice update from the 31 July 2020.

In England, you must wear a face covering by law in the following settings:

  • public transport,
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals),
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire),
  • indoor shopping centres,
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses).

You should wear your face covering before entering any of these and must keep it on until you leave.

For members of the public, from 8 August the places where you will have to wear a face covering will be expanded to include:

  • Funeral directors
  • Premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Bingo halls
  • Concert halls
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites.
  • Nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers – other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • Massage parlours
  • Public areas in hotels and hostels
  • Places of worship
  • Libraries and public reading rooms
  • Community centres
  • Social clubs
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Veterinary services.
  • Auction houses
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