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Understanding the standards for PPE

NPL provides PPE manufacturers guidance and feedback in readiness for certification

The government recently provided new regulations concerning the production of PPE, specifically to encourage manufacturers to diversify their operations and meet the demand of protecting our frontline workers.

The revised guidance still requires manufacturers to provide products that are designed and manufactured in accordance with essential health and safety requirements. Standards are created to ensure products are safe and fit for purpose. By meeting the requirements of these standards, we can be sure that products are fit for use.

There are several relevant British standards for face masks and visors. The most important are BS EN 166:2002 and BS EN 168:2002. These cover general requirements for personal eye protection and the tests required to ensure that products are safe. BS EN 167:2002 also covers optical test methods for these products, which are important to ensure that the user has a clear undistorted field of view.

At NPL, we understand the regulations, and we work with PPE suppliers to assist in identifying and understanding the relevant standards, ensuring their products get to market as quickly as possible. We encourage manufacturers to continue to follow the conformance process and CE marking, as this is the surest way of meeting relevant standards.

We provide designers and manufacturers with a range of testing and consultation services, which includes:

  • Guidance to help to ensure PPE face masks and visors are safe and feedback in readiness for certification
  • Support to expedite the research and development process through design evaluation
  • Testing services for the most critical aspects of face mask performance such as flow resistance, particle penetration and fluid resistance
  • Assessing the impact of decontamination and cleaning methods on PPE materials
  • Bespoke programmes to support new innovative PPE designs.

PPE testing and consultation services



Protecting Heroes are working with a Community Interest Company (CIC) called ‘Protecting Heroes’ and provide advice on testing and material suitability. Their face shield design has now been tested and CE marked and is in full production, and they are set to deliver circa 100,000 for frontline workers.

NPL has helped other new PPE manufacturers to have their products tested, get them approved and get them to market. Resulting in an increase of proven, safe PPE being used by healthcare workers in the UK.


We also work across several areas of PPE design and manufacturing. From helping organisations to print face shields in 3D, to manufacturers who want their designs to be freely available to the rest of industry. In all cases we can help prepare designs through test and consultation services for CE marking.

PPE face mask testing services

PPE testing and consultation services

Contact us now and see how we can help your PPE meet UK standards.

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