Standards and directives for face masks

DIN EN 149 – Respiratory protective devices, filtering half masks to protect against particles

All uvex respirators are tested and approved in accordance with the European standard 149. This standard sets out a wide range of requirements for respirators, with the aim of providing the user with the highest level of protection and comfort.

Respiratory masks and filtering half-masks in accordance with standard DIN EN 149 protect the wearer from particulate pollutants such as aluminium dust and smoke, glass fibres, wood dust and other harmful particles. Depending on the type and concentration of the pollutant, one of three protection classes of face masks must be available.

Classification of filtering half-masks for protection against particles

Particle-filtering half-masks and masks with changeable filters are classified into various respiratory protection classes in accordance with DIN EN 149:2001 and A1:2009. Each class is suitable for use in different areas of application, depending on the level of pollution:

FFP1 protection class

FFP1 respirators have a filtering capacity of at least 80% and filter up to four times the respective occupational exposure limit (OEL*). These masks are suitable for particles that are neither toxic nor fibrogenic.

FFP2 protection class

FFP2 respirators are suitable for smoke, particles and dusts that are noxious or harmful to health. They filter at least 94% of particles and can be used up to ten times the respective occupational exposure limit (OEL*).

FFP3 protection class

With a filtering efficiency of at least 99%, FFP3 masks constitute the highest protection class. They filter up to 30 times the respective occupational exposure limit (OEL*) and are suitable for protecting against toxic particles, dusts and smoke.

All uvex masks fulfil the dolomite dust test

So that you can see the protection class at a glance, the marking is blue on FFP1 masks, orange on FFP2 masks and black on FFP3 masks.

In addition to the standard tests, all uvex masks fulfil the additional requirement of the dolomite dust test and are therefore marked with the letter D. Therefore the uvex respiratory protection products ensure an excellent breathability, even in extremely dusty environments and during prolonged use.

All uvex respirators are in line with current EU legislation. All respiratory protective devices fall into PPE category III (high risks).

The revised version of DIN EN 149 also regulates whether filtering half-masks can only be used for one shift, or whether they can be reused for multiple shifts. The relevant requirements for cleaning and disinfection are given in the standard. Whether masks can be reused depends on various factors in the working environment:

  • Pollutant concentration
  • Breathing intensity
  • Heat
  • Moisture
  • Hygiene factors

The following markings regulate the reuse of filtering half-masks in accordance with the standard:

  • R = Filtering half-mask is reusable.
  • NR = Filtering half-mask is usable for a maximum of one shift.

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* OELs = The occupational exposure limit values (OELs) are the average concentration of a substance in the air in the workplace, up to which no damage (chronic or acute) is to be expected if employees work there for eight hours a day for five days a week. The OELs replace the maximum workplace concentration (MWC) and the technical reference concentration (TRC) – however, as long as both of these values are not yet fully taken into account in the OELs, they can still be used on an interim basis for assessing risks in the workplace.