When Clarity Counts
With organisations around the world reopening as Covid-19 restrictions ease, face screen manufacturer Centurion is encouraging purchasers of PPE to be extra vigilant.
We're living in unprecedented times which have required an unprecedented response from governments, employers and employees. Part of that response has included measures to protect employees, their families and people they come into contact with from contracting the new SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) coronavirus by recommending - and even mandating - the use of PPE.
As experts in head protection since the 19th century, Centurion have a history of producing face screens which are often marketed as 'visors', 'cough guards', 'face guards' and 'sneeze protection'. As a manufacturer, we're also aware the scramble for PPE is resulting in an influx of new suppliers and products onto the market which have the potential to cause confusion and even jeopardise the very safety they are intended to protect.
Asking the following questions of face screen suppliers as part of your Covid security preparations is therefore a good starting point for for buyers of PPE.
What is the face screen's optical rating?
To keep frontline workers protected when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the production of lower quality single use face screens was fast tracked. These met the immediate goal of reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by providing an effective barrier to the eyes, nose, and mouth but they weren’t tested to the complete EN166 standard. Consequently, many of these face screens don’t provide the optical clarity that could usually be expected from an EN166 face screen and anyone wearing one all day is at risk of visual side effects such as eye strain - this effect may increase if you wear spectacles. This issue can be avoided by choosing a face screen with Class 1 EN166 certification such as our Classic Browguard System which is available with anti-fog options on five-day dispatch.
Is it flexible?
A common complaint among disposable face screen users is they can’t be easily adjusted or flipped up to consider a change of working position. While one of the benefits of face screens is that users don’t need to take them off to communicate clearly it is still useful to have built in flexibility. Our Classic Browguard System from Centurion, for example, has a flip-up face screen and flexible headband to ensure a personalised fit.
Is it comfortable?
Anyone who has to wear PPE for extended periods will tell you comfort is key. When choosing a face screen consider what features are included that improve comfort levels which will encourage workers to put the screen on and keep it on. For example, as well as featuring a flexible headband, the Centurion Classic Browguard System features a fabric sweatband and dual strap system to ensure maximum comfort and enhance its personalised fit. Meanwhile the ConceptAir Helmet and Flip Up Visor Kit combines Centurion’s comfortable visor design with one of the lightest helmets on the market to ensure feel-good comfort even for extended periods of use.
Does the screen feature impact protection?
A serious issue associated with lower quality face screens is that users may assume they have impact protection when they don’t. If you need impact protection, such as for undertaking grinding in industrial applications, choose EN166 compliant face screens which have grade B impact rating such.
At Centurion, our Classic Browguard System and ConceptAir Helmet and Flip Up Visor Kit meet this requirement and are also compatible with other PPE, making it easier to ensure users stay fully protected.
What are its environmental credentials?
Single-use face screens met an immediate need for front line workers but in the longer term they are bad news for the environment and your wallet. Reusable versions such as Centurion’s Classic Browguard System are easy to clean and last much longer making them far more economical and environmentally sound. Medical experts believe reusable materials pose no additional risk if they are routinely sanitised. There's additional advice on how to keep your face screen clean at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO9jyV0qE6s.
Finally, it’s important to remember that face screens are not mask replacements, but they can provide an added layer of protection against aerosol spread. A face screen can serve as a physical barrier to the particles you emanate when you breathe, and as a physical barrier to particles hitting you when someone coughs or sneezes. It protects not only the mouth and nose area but also the eyes, giving you a more complete physical barrier than a face mask. Face screens also prevent the wearer from touching much if not all of their face. The use of a face screen is also a reminder to maintain social distancing but allows visibility of facial expressions and lip movements for speech perception.