NFRC News Detail

Use masks wisely amidst shortages, says NFRC

by | May 07, 2020

As the construction industry starts to return to work, the NFRC have today published a Guidance Note relating to the correct use of face masks on site.

This follows a survey of NFRC members that found FFP3 masks topped the list of shortages being experienced, higher than any other listed material or product shortage, with a deficit of 6,370 masks, among the 384 members who responded.

The Guidance Note makes clear that for the purposes of preventing COVID-19, other than health workers and those with symptoms, the World Health Organisation (WHO) does not recommend the wearing of masks. Instead, social distancing and good hygiene should be the focus.

However, FFP3 masks and other Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) are essential in the roofing industry for many tasks. With masks in short supply, companies need to determine other controls and time exposure limits via a robust risk assessment.

Chief Executive of the NFRC, James Talman commented:

The world is seeing a global shortage of PPE and RPE and this is having an impact on frontline medical staff. The construction industry shouldn’t be competing with the NHS for RPE, and so companies should think carefully about how they best use face masks on site, ensuring the type and their use is strictly necessary."

He added:

However, there will be times that the use of FFP3 facemasks will be necessary and so it is essential that production is significantly increased. Our recent survey of material and product shortages found FFP3 to be the top shortage area, with over 6,300 masks needed urgently. The Government should work with the industry to ensure that both the NHS and the industry have enough PPE and RPE to work safely.

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