With cities and provinces across Canada requiring masks in public places, disposable masks, medical masks and N95 respirators are in high demand. But, did you know that HOW they’re worn makes all the difference?
There’s more to wearing a mask than simply putting it on. Learn how to properly don a disposable mask and get the information you need on using N95 masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other harmful pathogens.
How to Put on a Disposable Mask
Follow the steps below when putting on a disposable mask to help ensure the best fit.
- Wash hands! (Or use hand sanitizer)
- Insure you have the correct size
- Inspect the mask for holes or other damage
- Place the mask over nose, mouth and chin – ensuring that the metal strip goes over the nose and that the colour side of the mask is facing out before putting the straps over ears
- Attach the straps to ears or around the head
- Pinch the metal strip to mold to the shape of nose
- Pull the bottom of the mask under chin
- Replace the mask if it gets wet and when used in excess of 4 hours
Remember, don’t touch the front of your mask during use to avoid contamination.
N95 masks: Let’s start with the basics…
N95 masks are commonly referenced when talking about masks in general. In fact, there are a wide variety of face masks. An N95 mask, or respirator, is certified to filter out at least 95% of airborne particles. They can be used in a variety of workplaces and are currently in high demand to protect healthcare workers who may come in contact with COVID-19.
In Canada the N95 mask wears MUST be fit tested.
What is a fit test?
It’s one thing to put on a mask – quite another to ensure it fits properly. Skipping a proper fit test can compromise the effectiveness of the mask, and that’s a serious safety concern.
Fit testing is done to ensure that the respirator seals tightly to the user’s face, ensuring that air is only flowing through the filter – and not leaking in through the sides – to protect the wearer. This includes selecting a mask that is the right size and shape so that it fits snugly.
How to Properly Don an N95 Mask
To get the best seal possible, it’s essential to ensure that users are donning their masks correctly.
- Wash hands!
- Select the correct size
- Place the respirator over the nose and under the chin, putting straps behind ears or around the head, depending on the style
- Use both hands to mold the nose clip firmly against nose and face
How to Conduct a Fit Test
Fit testing must be conducted by a certified person and the correct steps (medical form, inspection, pre use testing) must be completed. Fit testing can NOT be done on self.
As more N95 masks become available, it will be critical to ensure workers understand how to properly wear and test this important device. If you have questions or need assistance with on-site or virtual fit testing demonstrations for your team, contact your Bunzl Safety representative – we’re here to help!