• Mark Kenny-Beveridge
    36
    Hi All,
    With the current COVID environment and mask requirements for some businesses/industries, I have noted that many worksites are implementing mandatory masks, without seeming to risk assess the impacts this change may have on current risks and controls or even introducing new risks.
    Largely we know how problems with glasses fogging can imped visibility (does anyone have a solution?) but also other impacts I wonder if the consequences have been considered, e.g. mental wellbeing for those we struggle to wear masks; wearing masks doing hot works etc.

    Has anyone else struck this, and how have you managed the conversation of striking a balance or prioritising COVID risk vs impacts on other risks
  • Steve H
    220
    Fogging of glasses is a bit of a giveaway that either the mask is being worn incorrectly, incorrect fit, or the wearer has a beard.

    Seems to me that engineering an increase in air changes will do more. Likewise, where someone is isolating at home, setting up a negative pressure zone for the isolatee, would give some measure of protection for the other folk in their bubble. The Asbestos Removal industry could advise/do this.

    Negative air pressure zones could be set up in some workplaces to keep work bubbles separated too.
  • Alex
    15
    There are some solutions for glasses fogging up, including making sure it fits snuggly around the nose, wearing your glasses slightly further down or using an anti-fog lens wipe.

    Our workers are expected to wear a mask if working within 1m of one another and safety glasses are usually mandatory for them although exceptions can be made (if approved by the supervisor and dfor specific tasks only)
  • Mark Kenny-Beveridge
    36
    Thanks guys. Yup we are working through the fit issue etc. What my point I was trying to make is, how many businesses have quickly implemented COVID controls without following their usual risk management processes to understand how COVID risks are prioritised against their other risks when it comes to determining which is the more pressing risk to manage and if they have reassessed their current risk controls after implementing COVID controls to ensure that the COVID controls don't negatively impact on their other risk controls or introduce new risks.
  • Michael Wilson
    113
    I have found disposable masks are much worse than fabric ones at fogging glasses. They also work better for bearded fellows. I ended up shaving mine off during lockdown (and have regretted it ever since) but it makes the masks fit better.
  • Steve H
    220
    I ended up shaving mine off during lockdown (and have regretted it ever since) but it makes the masks fit better.Michael Wilson

    Not so much for disposable masks, but for Breathing Apparatus and Gas Masks, a little bit of Vaseline creates good seal for beard owners, I found back in the day, Michael.
  • Michael Wilson
    113
    I will try that in six months when it recovers it's former glory
  • Don Ramsay
    87
    Nz Safety sell Miteywipes that clean and also stop glasses from fogging up
  • Derek Miller
    35
    If the glasses are fogging up then the mask isn't fitted correctly, it's an indictaion that the seal is not working. Hence the reason that you need to be clean shaven to wear disopoble or reusbale negative pressure respirators. It also may be the design your wearing is not suited for your face shape that's why there are different designs, fit testing from a reputable provider will show this up.
  • Steve H
    220
    Hence the reason that you need to be clean shaven to wear disposable or reusable negative pressure respirators.Derek Miller
    A little bit of Vaseline creates good seal for beard owners I found back in the day,Derek- worked fine with a gas mask on in a sealed chamber with CS gas canister activated to provide an incentive to achieve a good seal :smile: An old Navy trick.
  • Derek Miller
    35
    Remember those days from my time as a rat catcher in RAF. This was an old solution which didnt really work well, so nowadyas its an air fed or clean shave if negative opressure. Latest one doing the rounds is that you get a good fit if you put on a beard net before putting on a respirator or use egg white! Other problem with vaseline is that it degrades the seals/rubber and you need to reapply it regularly throughout a day wearing RPE, plus greasy hands. So better clean shaven, mine came off yesterday as back to wearing disposable respirators tomorrow for a few hours
  • KeithH
    94
    how does the design of the gas mask you refer to relate to the half and full face respirators and face masks commonly used today?

    A google search of face mask, full face respirator, half face respirator and navy gas mask tends to indicate they are not the same. But I could be mistaken.
  • Steve H
    220
    Worked with both Keith, with SCBA smoke pots were the incentive to get a seal, or the ingress of water if in a flooded compartment situation. Derek is correct that long term, a petroleum based product will degrade the rubber seal, but how long should they be used for in any case. Likewise, there can't be many situations where someone would have to wear any mask continuously throughout a day, even slaves get the odd break :smile:
  • KeithH
    94
    @Steve H LOL like the final comment
  • Steve H
    220
    Announcement to crew of Roman galley, "Good news team this morning there will be extra rations for all- after lunch the captain wants to go water skiing" :smile:
  • Steffan St Clair-Newman
    10
    In our industry we didn't really get a choice regardless if we completed a Risk Assessment or not and yes this is very frustrating when you look at how the teams complete their tasks, the hygiene requirements regardless of Covid and the need for additional PPE, no matter what we have tried, due to the cool environment and physical work, our masks get damp very fast, fog glasses up etc and we have tried just about everything except a space suit...
  • Gary Clarkson
    5
    The issue I am finding with our team is headaches and, fatigue as the air exchange is reduced and they do lots of heavy lifting.
  • Mark Kenny-Beveridge
    36
    I agree @Steffan St Clair-Newman, and that is my problem...it feels that our standard risk management processes have gone out the window with this. When is it OK to accept a control without analysing the risk, esp. when it is introducing PPE which is the lowest form of control.

    Correct @Gary Clarkson, we are finding the same, which seems to be a common finding in some research conducted overseas https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8072811/ . I also find people are getting grumpier in the work day.

    I am very much of the thought, that controls (esp. PPE) must be for a meaningful reason, the Hierarchy of control should be applied (i.e. don't default to PPE), and that foreseeable risks should be prioritised and managed.

    I am trying to question, what is the most foreseeable harm likely to eventuate from in our level 2 workplace...COVID or risks associated with wearing a mask?
  • Sheri Greenwell
    290
    I think there are a lot of organisations that reacted in a kind of 'knee-jerk' fashion to implement controls, without having properly assessed the risks. Not only is a 'knee-jerk' solution likely to be flawed because the emphasis is more on being seen to do SOMETHING (anything!). Early on in the pandemic, everything was unfolding and we didn't know much about it. As time went on, not only did we learn more, the parameters also started changing. This highlights the importance of a number of key points. Do more research and ask more questions to really understand the risks and evaluate your best, most effective options for managing (hierarchy of controls). From then, it is vitally important to keep circling back to review the controls and their effectiveness, as well as identifying what has changed since the previous review - we shouldn't be putting controls on 'automatic' and reviews should genuinely examine the parameters of hazards, risks and controls.
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