Are AR/FR COVID-19 Face Masks Considered PPE?

At Tyndale, our priority has always been protecting America’s workers. Since COVID-19 began spreading in the US, we heard the call and moved quickly to design, manufacture, and ship arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) face masks. So far, we’ve shipped close to a million AR / FR masks toward our ultimate goal of helping to protect impacted workers across the US.

But introducing PPE to curb the spread of the virus has raised an important question: can AR / FR face masks replace your normal AR / FR head, face, and neck protection – like balaclavas, neck gaiters, and face shields?

The answer to this question is absolutely not.

  • AR / FR COVID-19 face masks are advantageous because they do not pose a flammability risk, but AR / FR COVID-19 face masks are not designed to be arc flash or flash fire protection.
  • Always use the head, neck, and face PPE prescribed by your company’s hazard analysis and safety policy.

Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, explains in this short video:

Why aren’t AR / FR face masks intended as arc flash or flash fire PPE? It comes down to size:

  • AR / FR COVID-19 face masks don’t protect enough of your face to substitute other PPE that’s designed specifically for your head, face, and neck.
  • Using your mask in place of your traditional head/neck/face PPE would be like relying on an AR / FR vest to protect your upper body in place of an AR / FR shirt.

Instead, AR / FR face masks are COVID-19 PPE, working in two ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 while not posing a flammability hazard:

  • Eliminating the wearer’s ability to touch his/her nose and mouth, making it harder to introduce or spread virus particles
  • Reducing droplets and particulates inhaled or exhaled by the wearer

For more information on mask safety, watch our instructional video. And, be sure to monitor our online library of AR / FR COVID-19 safety information for other important resources.

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