Latest News from BPCA

21 April 2020

GVS talk RPE for pest professionals and Covid-19

Since a pandemic was declared in early 2020, GVS, the Anglo-Italian filtration specialist, has been playing their part in the battle against Covid-19.

Danny Barr, one of GVS' UK RPE specialists, talked us through the work GVS has been doing in the fight against the virus and some of the key aspects of wearing a safety mask, especially in this crucial time.

 806 danny barr guest blog2

In response to the pandemic, GVS' safety mask division ramped up production at our manufacturing plant in Morecambe, Lancashire to new levels, making more Segre (disposable) and Elipse (reusable) masks than at any time since the company’s inception in 1979.

We’ve been collaborating with Bologna University to test face mask technology with doctors, and have struck up direct supply arrangements with both the NHS and Civil Protection Authority in the UK and Italy respectively, to supply masks directly to those front-line health workers who need them most.

On top of that, we’re also making weekly mask donations to key local initiatives who are finding masks difficult to come by.

It’s important that, as well as having the RPE available, people know how to use it correctly.

Anyone who could come into contact with an airborne hazard, be that dust, mist, fume or even a virus, needs to take time to learn about their mask, so they know that it fits, how to wear and maintain it, and when to change the mask, or filters.

As one of several Fit2Fit accredited staff at GVS, I spend time with wearers each month teaching them why people need to wear masks, how to wear them correctly and then testing their individual fit (called a Face Fit Test), so they can have the peace of mind of knowing that their mask fits them right, every time.

The GVS face fit test requires individuals wearing Elipse masks to be tested on basic functions such as walking, turning their head, bending over, and talking, all the while being monitored by me, or one of my colleagues, to ensure a secure fit.

The health implications of not wearing the correct (or properly fitted) Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) are numerous, including COPD, Mesothelioma, and Silicosis, and with over 12,000 deaths associated with workplace-related respiratory conditions each year, it’s vital that where necessary all employers have a strictly adhered to RPE policy at places of work.

Where Covid-19 is concerned, there are other considerations as well.

Where wearers previously would only put a mask on to carry out a specific task or job role, now masks are being suggested as being a requirement in all interactions with other people.

Across airports all over the world, staff have been issued with masks to help cut down the spread of the disease from coughs and sneezes, and it’s only going to be a matter of time before they are seen as a requirement in general life as part of the social distancing guidance associated with Covid-19.

When wearing a mask in those situations, the key points are:

  1. Don’t touch the filters with bare hands – wear gloves when changing filters
  2. Clean the mask after removal and before donning, using soap and hot water
  3. When removing the mask, do so by grasping the straps and pulling them up over the head.

At GVS we’re working on processes to clean masks in relation to the Covid-19 – to read more about them visit gvs.com/page/CoVid-19.

Q&A

If I go into someone’s home, what sort of mask should I have?
Totally depends on what you are using it for or to protect against. The Government advice regarding Covid-19 states tight-fitting FFP3 respirators.

Will a mask protect me from Covid-19?
Alongside other PPE and necessary precautions, yes. In terms of GVS masks, the Elipse can be used to help shield you from the virus; but it must be handled with care at the end of a shift/ period of use, with no contact between hands and the filters.

The same level of attention must then be paid when putting the mask back on. When disposing of the filters, either wear gloves or wash your hands with hot water and soap immediately after disposal.

How do I know my mask is fit for purpose?
To check if it is fit for purpose you need to ensure you have checked all of the MSDS sheets on the products used. These will indicate what RPE should be worn.

This is also assuming the mask is face fit tested, therefore creating a good seal around the face. You can find more information about correctly wearing masks on the HSE website here.

How long can I wear the same mask?
HSE states a negative pressure respirator must only be worn for an hour at a time. Reusable masks must be maintained every 28 days and a record kept of this, as well as notes showing which dates the filters were changed.

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Source: Online

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