Every industry is facing new challenges as the lockdown eases. Consumers continue to change their behaviour; businesses are adapting to the next normal, and Government guidance is continually updated. It’s a state of flux, but there are opportunities for manufacturers to instil the confidence needed to recover and thrive again.
Hygienic premises provide stakeholder confidence
Firstly, as many organisations enter their next phase recovery, it’s essential that they build trust by putting in place measures to ensure their workplace is safe and hygienic for employees and visitors alike.
Good workplace health, safety and hygiene practices can help reduce the risk of ill health including the incidence of transmittable disease and the associated cost of absenteeism. It can also help to improve productivity and allows organisations to demonstrate to their colleagues and customers that they should be confident and comfortable returning to its facility.
The BSI Kitemark™ for Workplace Hygiene; is a mark of trust that can be applied to a facility to show anyone entering a workplace that it’s hygiene practices and risk management processes have been independently certified as effective.
This new global certification scheme is based on the structure of the International Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard (ISO 45001), PAS 5748 Specification for the planning, application, measurement and review of cleanliness services in hospital and the recently published UK Safe Working Guidelines Issue 2, alongside the relevant local government guidance.
Scaling the production of face coverings to meet demand
Over the past few months, BSI has seen several examples of resilience and innovation from manufacturers in response to the challenges imposed on them.
The way they’ve ramped up production of both PPE and ventilators is inspiring and leads the way to what the future of agile manufacturing may look like.
And on 20 July the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove announced a government drive to increase UK production of face coverings. This has started at two sites in England and Wales and the increase in manufacturing capacity is expected to grow over the coming weeks as face coverings become increasingly part of our everyday lives.
This is the first time that face coverings are being made at such scale in the UK, and is an opportunity for manufacturers to adapt to support millions of consumers to safeguard each other and have the confidence to return to service providers and public spaces.
To assure the quality of these face coverings, BSI has launched the BSI Kitemark for Face Coverings. The new Kitemark assesses face coverings to a technical specification that requires 70% particle filtration and breathability tests to ensure consumer comfort while reducing the risk of spreading infection.
Face coverings differ from PPE and medical grade face masks in that they are intended to protect those in close proximity to the wearer, not the wearer themselves.
Whilst a vast number of face coverings are already available on the market, their performance and design may differ significantly. On top of breathability and filtering, the new BSI Kitemark for Face Coverings provides independent approval of the quality of the fitting, and the instructions provided to the wearer to minimise the chances of transmission.
Howard Kerr, chief executive of BSI comments: “There is an overwhelming choice of face coverings available in the market. The challenge is knowing which claims they make are valid and whether they provide a basic level of protection to others. Face coverings that are independently assessed to schemes such as the Kitemark will allow consumers to make an informed and trusted decision.”
UK manufacturers, Cookson and Clegg and Rototherm, are among the first organisations to be in the final stages of assessment to achieve the BSI Kitemark for Face Coverings. It is expected that the first face coverings with the Kitemark will be available from late July.
Face coverings have become increasingly part of our everyday lives. They are designed to cover the wearers nose and mouth and are intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the risk of the spread of infection.
For guidance on getting started with the production of face coverings, contact us
BSI’s hygiene solutions include:
- Safe working guidelines – available to download free
- Training to implement effective hygiene practices
- Kitemark certification for hygienic premises and face coverings
- Audit of your own hygiene program to assure robustness