Technical compliance relating to face shields and visors

This page contains information regarding the supply of face shields during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eye protection

Provides a barrier to droplets and splashes, and includes safety spectacles, full face visors or an integral transparent panel on the top of a surgical face mask. Some of these items may be produced by 3D printing.

Eye protection Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should be CE marked and fall in to the most stringently checked category - category III. The supplier/manufacturer will need to provide documentary evidence demonstrating that the product meets the essential safety requirements of the Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/425) and appropriate standards as a minimum. This is in line with the Government's issued easement of the PPE compliance requirements subject to meeting the essential safety requirements.

Thereby, if products such as face masks, face shields/visors or goggles have not been manufactured to the specification and tested to a relevant standard, the product will not be compliant with the PPE Regulation.

BS EN ISO 18526-3: 2000

This is the International Standard for eye and face protection - physical and mechanical test methods. Eye protection is worn by those undertaking activities such as aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) and will be classified as PPE Category III, therefore requiring the involvement of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

BS EN 166:2002

This is another standard that covers personal protective eyewear and is for visors and eye shields/safety glasses.

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Appropriate use

Disposable, single use eye protection is recommended by the HSE. However, for reusable products, appropriate decontamination between uses is required. Ask your supplier whether it has considered or tested the face shield to ensure that the material is not porous so that it can be effectively disinfected and cleaned. 3D printed material can be porous which would make cleaning difficult.

The Government's current technical specifications for face visor products supplied to the NHS details that all face shields/visors must comply with the following:

  • must be optically clear;
  • must be resistant to fogging; and
  • must have an adjustable head band.

The Government has published further guidance on Essential technical requirements for new High-Volume Manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Devices (MD) during COVID-19.

Unfortunately, we are unable to give assurances or authenticate any PPE products. Therefore, we strongly advise that any internal, WHO and NHS guidelines for the procurement and use of PPE is followed alongside the above advice and a thorough risk assessment, based on the inherent characteristics of the hazard, routes of transmission and the type(s) of activities being performed.

The above advice may change in light of additional guidance on bringing PPE products to the market more rapidly from the HSE and the Government in due course. We will keep you updated should this be the case.

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