Many companies hope for an early return to a, in part, normalcy of operations by adhering to and implementing the required hygiene standards. The Federal Government will continue to discuss on Wednesday 06.05.2020 about the further measures due to the COVID-19 crisis. The prescribed mask duty is a beginning to protect persons and employees against the virus and to be able to reopen the company and production under strict conditions.
Due to the strong demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), an exponential price development has been observed, which has led to a sensitisation of the European market and politics for so-called Mouth and Nose Protection (MNS). MNS are masks that do not meet medical standards, e.g. by using cotton or similar woven fabrics. The German government states the following in this regard: “MNS generally offer the wearer little protection against pathogen-containing droplets and aerosols. However, they can protect the mouth and nose area of the wearer from direct contact with larger droplets from the other person and from the transmission of pathogens through direct contact with the hands.
The Commission’s EU 2020/403 Recommendation of 13 March 2020 to the Member States describes in detail how to deal with PPE products. Paragraph 25 states that “Since certain types of PPE or medical devices used in connection with the outbreak of Covid-19 may also be used for other purposes, it is necessary that Member States take all appropriate measures to ensure that PPE or medical devices without CE marking which may be placed on the Union market in accordance with paragraph 8 of this Recommendation are made available only to health professionals”.
By providing evidence of the production of the products and the conformity assessment procedure in accordance with the market surveillance procedure, we therefore ask ourselves how the introduction of MNS should enable companies to protect their workers acutely from infection in the company and how, in this case, assistance in evaluating the right products should be provided?
During the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many companies in China switched their production to PPE and now offer it for purchase in global export. However, shortcomings in certification and product quality were revealed, causing the Chinese government to cut the official supplier market from 1000 to 5 companies. Furthermore, a register was introduced to record state-certified companies that meet the respective medical standards in production and afterwards. Nevertheless, we continue to monitor the distribution of PPE, which is advertised as such but does not meet the standards, to the detriment of the companies and the population, which are in urgent need of these products!
We therefore advise every company to have the documentation meticulously checked by itself and by a third, accredited body when purchasing PPE and not to be tempted by supposedly lower prices to expose employees and their families to an incalculable risk.