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UKFT statement on PPE performance requirements


UKFT is working to support the government as it starts to increase the availability of PPE. However, it is estimated that global demand for PPE has grown by 1,000% in the past few weeks.

We have been overwhelmed by the very many offers to help we have received from across the UK fashion and textile community. Many of you have offered to help produce masks and gowns for the NHS and other key workers. There are a number of bottlenecks in the supply chain that government is looking to resolve very quickly and the most important of which is the availability of the correct fabric. It is vital that all PPE is made from the appropriate material otherwise the protection given by items could be compromised.

The government are now working rapidly to put in place a quick and simple system to onboard companies to the NHS supply base, to develop the appropriate terms and conditions and to ensure the regulatory system is able to cope with the ramping up of production.

When these measures are all in place the government will be operating a triage system which in effect will see government work with larger manufacturing firms first. This does not mean that offers from smaller companies are unwanted. However, government officials have asked that small companies do not manufacture products without hearing from government regarding the required specifications.

UKFT has shared with the government details of those companies that are already able to source PPE at scale and speed.

Masks and surgical gowns have very specific performance requirements and if you are supplying PPE to hospital and health workers who are in constant contact with those unfortunate enough to have contracted the virus, the products you make must meet these specifications. Currently all gowns and masks also have to be tested to ensure they meet the specifications and test laboratories are working at capacity.

The specific standards, which cover face masks, medical gloves and protective clothing are listed below. BSI has made these standards available for free during the current situation.

  • BS EN 149:2001+A1:2009 Respiratory protective devices. Filtering half masks to protect against particles. Requirements, testing, marking
  • BS EN 166:2002 Personal eye protection. Specifications
  • BS EN 14126:2003 Protective clothing. Performance requirements and tests methods for protective clothing against infective agents
  • BS EN 14605:2009+A1:2009 Protective clothing against liquid chemicals. Performance requirements for clothing with liquid-tight (Type 3) or spray-tight (Type 4) connections, including items providing protection to parts of the body only (Types PB [3] and PB [4])
  • BS EN 13795-1:2019 Surgical clothing and drapes. Requirements and test methods. Surgical drapes and gowns
  • BS EN 13795-2:2019 Surgical clothing and drapes. Requirements and test methods. Clean air suits
  • BS EN 455-1:2000 Medical gloves for single use. Requirements and testing for freedom from holes
  • BS EN 455-2:2015 Medical gloves for single use. Requirements and testing for physical properties
  • BS EN 455-3:2015 Medical gloves for single use. Requirements and testing for biological evaluation
  • BS EN 455-4:2009 Medical gloves for single use. Requirements and testing for shelf life determination
  • BS EN 14683:2019 Medical face masks. Requirements and test methods.
  • BS EN ISO 10993-1:2009 Biological evaluation of medical devices. Evaluation and testing within a risk management process
  • BS EN ISO 374-5:2016 Protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms. Terminology and performance requirements for micro-organisms risks
  • BS EN ISO 13688:2013 Protective clothing. General requirements

Click here to register to access the standards (Note: Downloads work on Internet Explorer rather than other browsers.)

Government Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) hub

A new hub containing guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE), and infection prevention and control (IPC) is now available, containing information for both health and social care settings and other workers and sectors.

The hub also links to the Cross-government UK-wide PPE plan to ensure that critical PPE is delivered to those on the frontline. This includes a new ‘Make’ strategy of encouraging UK manufacturers to produce PPE.

Read the Government plan here

The Government welcomes support from manufacturers who wish to offer their production facilities where they can meet the required specifications for use by the NHS and care sector. New offers can continue to be made via www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business.

Read more here

Free Vetigraph PPE patterns for scrubs and gowns

UKFT associate member Vetigraph has produced a range of patterns for PPE, including scrubs, gowns, face masks, boiler suits, headwear and plastic face shields in A4, A0, and Vetigraph PLT files, which are available free of charge.


Use of Masks in the Community – Public Health England (PHE) guidance

There is very little evidence of widespread benefit from the use of face masks outside of the clinical or care settings, where they play a very important role.

To be effective, face masks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly, disposed of safely and used in combination with good universal hygiene behaviour.

Research shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing face masks for prolonged periods, such as in the community.

Therefore, PHE does not advise masks in public places and for those working in supermarkets, waste collection, schools and similar settings.

PHE recommends that employers should ensure that:

  • spaces in the workplace are optimised to allow social distancing to occur, wherever possible
  • signs are visible in the workplace reminding employees not to attend work if they have a fever or cough and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • employees are provided with hand sanitiser for frequent use and regular breaks to allow them to wash their hands for 20 seconds

The UK does not currently advise use of face masks outside of care settings, in line with PPE guidance.

PHE will continually review guidance in line with emerging evidence and WHO views, and update our guidance if new evidence suggests that we should do so.

UKFT is in constant dialogue with the government and is outlining the latest support available for businesses on our website. We will update the details as and when the situation changes. 

UKFT Coronavirus Guidance