In Part 2 of this 3-part series, we reviewed the features, advantages and disadvantages of each category of face mask. Now we’ll look at face shields and the proper use face coverings to minimize occupational exposure. Lastly, bring everything together to assist you in making an informed decision for your next purchase.
Face shields are typically used by healthcare providers along with masks and other PPE to minimize the risk of fluid exposure to its wearer. They are a great example of using layers of protection to minimize occupational exposure risk. Current research indicate that face shields do not provide adequate protection when used alone. For this reason, the CDC does not recommend that they be used as a substitute for face masks until more is known about their use as a source control.
Even though there is no scientific data for the public use of face shields at this time, there are some scenarios where other types of face coverings are problematic. Check out this page from the CDC to read more about this topic.
Face Masks are Part of a System
Face masks are not a substitute for social distancing and other methods to limit occupational exposure. Face masks, and other PPE, are designed to be used along with other measures as part of your exposure control plan. Exposure control plans are derived from analyzing the people and the place The analysis informs businesses on how to create a system of layers, where PPE is the least effective form of control. PPE is the last line of defense in systems that are not well controlled. Besides knowing the inherent weaknesses of your face covering, it is essential to understand how to put it on, use it, and remove it to minimize worker exposure.
Putting your mask on (Donning)
Wash hands prior to donning mask. Inspect mask ensuring it is not soiled or damaged. Pick-up using the straps and apply mask to cover mouth, nose and chin. Adjust mask to minimize gaps. Avoid touching your mask while wearing it to avoid contamination. If you touch the mask, wash your hands.
Removing mask (Doffing)
Wash your hands before doffing mask. Remove mask using the straps or ties, without touching the front of the mask. Pull it away from your face and discard the mask in trash. Wash hands again after doffing mask.
- Face masks become less effective if they get wet or become soiled. Thus, change mask if it becomes wet or soiled.
- Disposable masks are not meant to be reused. Although disinfecting methods for reusing N95 respirators, they are expensive and limited to healthcare settings.
- Face masks should NEVER be shared under any circumstances.
To assist you in making purchase decisions, we’ve provided the below matrix that summarizes face covering types.
Safety is one of the most basic issues of job design. Deciding which face covering to wear is based on the people and place where the face covering will be used. Therefore, when considering the people in your business, one needs to identify all categories of people and their potential for exposure based on their roles and responsibilities within that environment. After selecting the right face mask(s) for your workplace, everyone should know how to properly don, doff and use their face coverings to minimize occupational exposure.
The next time you need to source face coverings to protect your workforce and workplace, contact G4Pro Marketplace. We can assist you in making an informed buying decision for both small quantities and bulk purchases.
Until next time…
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