Types of masks and their function
There has probably never been so much talk about mouth masks as in recent months and weeks. With the emergence of the Coronavirus this became a hot topic, but it may not always be obvious to keep the different types of mouth masks apart and also to understand the correct application of each type.
Within our sector, inspectors also need a mouth mask to protect themselves against certain products with which they come into contact while carrying out their inspections. These are actually different types of mouth masks than the versions that regular persons currently come into contact with because it also has to provide a different protection function.
We are trying to get you acquainted with this special subject, which is much talked about at the moment.
A respiratory mask covers the nose and mouth and consists of different filter materials and the mask itself.
The first important step is to determine why you should wear a mouth mask. Do you need it to protect yourself or do you want to protect others?
At COPRO we have different types of mouth masks available for our employees. Each has a different function depending on the exposed risk. In this case, the main purpose of the masks is to protect the wearer from certain products with which they come into contact. In the first instance, it is therefore not a question of protecting others.
1. FFP-mouth masks
The so-called FFP mouth masks are the most commonly used masks in our sector. The abbreviation FFP stands for 'Filtering Facepiece Particles'. This classification system is divided into three FFP classes (FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3).
These respiratory masks protect against dust, smoke and liquid mist (aerosols) in the lungs, but not against vapour and gas. It is prescribed in workplaces where the workplace limit value (WGW) is exceeded. This is the maximum allowable concentration of dust, fumes and aerosols in the breathing air that does not cause damage to health. If the value is exceeded, respiratory masks are mandatory.
Respiratory masks of protection class FFP3 offer the highest possible protection against breathing air pollution. With a total leakage rate of up to 5% and a required protection of at least 99% against particles up to a size of 0.6 μm, they are also capable of filtering toxic, carcinogenic and radioactive particles. These respiratory masks can be used in working environments where the limit value is exceeded up to 30 times the industry specific value.
- The type Moldex 340801 FFP3 R D Airplus Provalve even has a maximum leakage of 2% and can be used in working environments up to 50x the limit value
- Attention : Leakage is strongly dependent on the fitting of the mouth mask. With a beard growth of 2-3 days, the effectiveness of the mouth mask can be reduced by 50%! With a full beard up to 100%.
The available FFP3 mouth masks are therefore suitable for use in, for example, the sector of granulates in which one may come into contact with asbestos.
The protection class and minimum requirements for filtering half masks are given by standard EN149:2001 + A1:2009.
We have the following types available for our employees:
- Moldex 340801 FFP3 R D Airplus Provalve
- Moldex 2505 FFP3 NR D Smart
- M-Safe 6340 FFP3 NR D
The meaning of the symbols used is as follows:
- R = Reusable
- NR = Non Reusable. This mask can/may be used several times during one working day (8h) but should not be used after that.
- D = These masks have passed the Dolomite Dust Test. They are more resistant to clogging over time. Because of this, the breathing resistance is lower, which makes working more comfortable.
Our prevention officer Gaëtan Pluym can always give more detailed information about these different types of masks.
2. Covid-19 : Disposable mouth maskes + fabric mouth masks
In addition to the FFP protection masks, we have of course also provided disposable mouth masks and fabric mouth masks for the COPRO employees in protection of the Corona virus.
These are masks that do not protect the wearer, but rather the other people they come into contact with.
- Surgical mouth masks
- A surgical oral mask is designed to filter the air that is exhaled from particles, including microorganisms, thereby protecting the bystander and the environment. This is in contrast to an FFP mask which protects against inhalation of particles, including microorganisms, transmitted through droplets or droplet nuclei
- A surgical mouth mask is intended for single use
- Fabric mouth masks
- These mouth masks have the same function as the surgical mouth masks but are different because they can be washed and reused.
- This type of mask contains best 2 layers of dust with if possible a filter in between.