High ‘face fit test’ pass rate on smaller face shapes with FFP3 respirator

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UK-made respiratory protection for healthcare helps reduce environmental impact

  • Poor fitting masks on smaller face shapes, such as NHS female staff, which account for 90% of nurses
  • How can you reduce your environmental impact? Choose sustainable UK-made respirators that include locally sourced materials
  • Guidelines for achieving the best possible protection from your PPE
  • Cambridge University study shows FFP3 offers up to 100% protection

Findings from the recent Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust research highlight that wearing an FFP3 mask can provide up to 100% protection against infection with Covid-19. By contrast, there is a far greater chance of staff wearing standard issue surgical masks catching the virus.

The call for FFP3 masks to be issued more widely is in line with a long-standing demand by the British Medical Association and many other professional bodies. Repeated appeals for higher standards to protect the protectors against the spread of the disease have been made.

'Poor fitting masks on smaller face shapes, such as NHS female staff, which account for 90% of nurses.'

The importance of fit-for-purpose PPE protective equipment for healthcare workers has come to light, demonstrating the serious risk that poorly fitting respirators pose to an individual’s safety.

In the NHS, standard issue face masks have previously been made to fit the ‘average person’ and, by default, can prove to be a poor fit for those with smaller face shapes, such as females. In the healthcare sector, this affects a large number of workers, with women accounting for 90% of nurses and 77% of all NHS staff.

Therefore, not all respirators provide a tight seal against the face when worn by those with a smaller face shape, making them uncomfortable during long shifts and compromising the protection they offer, ultimately potentially causing a significant health and safety risk.

Britain’s biggest-based PPE manufacturer Globus Group has launched a range of innovative FFP3 respirators specifically for the healthcare sector in response. Globus has worked hard to ensure that its products meet the needs of the NHS workforce and designed an innovative range of face masks, HX-3, specifically for the healthcare sector that offer a closer fit and higher levels of protection, helping to safeguard every worker.

The business’s innovative HX-Series FFP3 respirators have produced market-leading results, with a high ‘Face Fit Test’ pass rate for those with smaller face shapes. The testing was undertaken over a four-week period between November and December last year by expert technicians at an NHS trust.

Amanda Mercy-Triga, one of the nurses at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle who has been wearing Alpha Solway’s HX – Series masks throughout the pandemic, commented: 'The Alpha Solway HX-3 respirator is comfortable, and I felt protected while wearing it. I wore those face masks during the entire COVID period.'

Steven Binnie, managing director of Alpha Solway, added: 'It is simply not acceptable that the majority of the NHS workforce, who happen to be women, should have to contend with PPE that does not properly protect them or their patients when they are on the coronavirus frontline. It is absolutely essential that those operating on the frontline of the pandemic are properly protected and that their safety concerns are listened to and acted on.'

At the start of the pandemic, Globus Group took the responsible approach of prioritising long-term investment in quality and committed to producing 75% of PPE products in-country and quickly cemented viable domestic supply chains by investing in two new UK manufacturing facilities in the north west of England and south west Scotland. This allowed the company to guarantee reliability of supply and performance of its products and provided the freedom to ensure a better fit and higher levels of respiratory protection.

Globus is now producing over one billion medical masks and 300 million FFP respirators a year for healthcare workers.

Mr Binnie continued: 'We are incredibly proud of the hard work Globus has been doing throughout the pandemic to ensure frontline NHS staff have the high-quality PPE they need and deserve. We hope that one of the lessons learned from coronavirus will be a greater recognition of the need for PPE that properly fits and protects women as well as men.'

'How can you reduce your environmental impact? Choose sustainable UK-made respirators that includes locally sourced materials.'

With healthcare renowned for being one of the largest sectors to emit greenhouse gases, the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions throughout the supply chain is one Globus Group has enlisted in its strategy.

One change that could have a positive impact on the environment is choosing UK-made PPE manufactured from locally sourced materials. Caps, gowns, masks and overshoes are listed as one of the top 20 clinical products that emit most greenhouse gases. By buying UK-made, the carbon footprint will be significantly less. Globus Group’s strategy is to produce 75% of products in the UK from locally produced materials.

Guidelines for achieving the best possible protection from your PPE

To ensure employee safety with this exclusive HX-Series range, the wearer needs to be provided with the tools and knowledge to fit and use the respirators correctly.

For full safeguarding, here is a checklist of all workforce respiratory protection requirements:

  • Ensure respiratory protection equipment (RPE) is suitable and adequate for the environment, risk and the wearer
  • Support all wearers to ensure they are well informed and competent in the use of the RPE supplied
  • Discuss and arrange training for each wearer of RPE
  • Check RPE to ensure the respirator is working properly before each use
  • Clear instructions of doffing and donning the respirator
  • Before each use, carry out a wearer-seal check (face fit check)
  • Maintain respiratory protection in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions


  • Is there a requirement for record-keeping on the type of respirator issued?
  • Is storage required?
  • What are the disposal requirements?

For further information on the HX Series FFP3 respirators and to hear more about face fit testing from a member of Globus’s dedicated healthcare team, visit: https://nhshub.globusgroup.com

This resource hub highlights a user guide for healthcare workers, complete with our donning and doffing guidelines featuring an informative video on our fit testing procedure for the new HX-3 respirator range.