It’s not true that any PPE is better than no PPE

Posted on 20 Apr 2020 by Jonny Williamson

BSI, in its role as the UK National Standards Body, has made freely available a series of European Standards (ENs) for personal protective equipment and medical devices used in the context of the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Many of you will have seen the widespread reports of equipment shortages the nation’s frontline care workers are facing. Manufacturers across the country are pitching in to help address the shortfall by offering their production lines, workers and expertise.

The Manufacturer has put together a dedicated page showcasing the UK-based manufacturing and engineering business providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – such as masks, shield, gowns, gloves, hand sanitiser – and medical devises, with a particular emphasis on those who have adeptly pivoted from their typical output.

However, it is imperative that what is being produced (often at not insignificant cost to small, family-owned businesses) is suitable for use in a healthcare environment.

In an effort to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on both the health of the nation and UK organisations, the BSI has made available a suite of relevant standards in key areas of the production of ventilators, PPE and business continuity and risk management.

These can all be found here.

Ventilator standard

Dozens of manufacturers have answered the government’s call for businesses that can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components as part of the UK’s response to COVID-19.

A specification for ventilators to be used in UK hospitals during the Covid-19 outbreak has been developed, setting out the clinical requirements based on “the consensus of what is ‘minimally acceptable’ performance in the opinion of anesthesia and intensive care medicine professionals and medical device regulators”.

The specification document can be found here.

Barrier masks

The French Standards Development Organisation, AFNOR has produced a reference document that anyone can use to make ‘barrier masks’.

Intended for both manufacturers and the public, this document provides guidance on how to make masks for all healthy individuals and supplements the range of good hygiene practices that are essential for tackling the coronavirus epidemic. We feel this is a useful document that aids the UK collective efforts to combat COVID-19 so it is now available to download.

The document can be found here.

Further enquiries

The BSI website notes: “Our experts are on hand to discuss the options available to clients and other manufacturers and to ensure compliant products can be placed on the market as quickly as possible so that medical professionals and first responders have access to the equipment they urgently need.”

You can contact them here with either a general enquiry or a more specific question. 

*Header image courtesy of Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay,