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Face Masks & Respirators

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Face masks and respirators are essential for ensuring that the user does not come into contact with harmful substances that could be found in the air. Certain environments may be more dangerous than others, so using face masks or respirators can ensure that workers are as safe as can be.

With a range of disposable face masks and reusable face masks and respirators available, there is a product that is suitable for every situation. Potential problems in the air include gases, vapours and dust, all of which can cause health problems if inhaled, particularly if the worker is exposed to them on a regular basis.

Never have face masks been more important than during the current pandemic as research has shown that they help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus from people who are contagious, including those who are asymptomatic or who are yet to develop symptoms. They have become compulsory on public transport in the UK and in many indoor situations, including in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres.

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Choosing the right face masks and respirators

Choosing the right face masks and respirators

All masks and respirators are designed to meet current British standards of safety, and they can help to protect the wearer against viruses and germs, keeping colds and flu at bay. The respirators are lightweight and therefore ideal for wearing for several hours at a time. Filter cartridges can be provided as needed and will help to deal with mists and fumes that are water-based, as well as radioactive substances. From disposable units to full-face respirators, all sizes and levels of safety are covered.

Different types of face masks & respirators

Not sure what face mask you need? There are many different types of specialised face masks, respirators and face shields. Below are a number of the categories that Safetyshop offers.

Dust and face shields

Dust face shields such as the Lightweight Face Shield are easy to wear and prevent dust from reaching the wearer’s eyes. They also double up as an ideal face guard for COVID-19 protection.

The North N5400 Full-Face Respirator is a more heavy-duty full face dust mask that is designed for workplaces where employees come into contact with dangerous particles – for example, in the manufacturing, industrial cleaning or pharmaceutical industries.

Dust masks

Dust masks provide varying levels of protection and are rated accordingly:

  • FFP1 Face Mask – such as the JSP Martcare FFP1 single use dust masks. These are comfortable dust masks that are suitable for low levels of dust. They are ideal for use when sawing wood or using drills to protect you from particulate matter.
  • FFP2 Face Mask – such as the 3M Aura 9300 FFP2 Mask. These are comfortable face masks that provide an additional level of protection from the FFP1 and are manufactured to protect the wearer from dust particles, mists of oil or water, and airborne germs.
  • FFP3 Face Mask – such as the JSP 132 FFP3 Disposable Respirator Dust Mask. These provide the wearer with a high level of protection against dust that contains fine particles, oil and water.


Full face respirators are our most heavy-duty respirators and provide workers with an optimal level of protection. We stock different types of full face respirators to give protection from different types of harmful substances – for example, the Honeywell Panoramasque Full Face Respirator Helmet provides optimal protection from harmful gases and fumes, particles, chemicals and other harmful fine powders.

For further guidance on selecting the best respiratory PPE for your employees, download the HSE’s guide to respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Face masks and the law

Face masks and the law

According to the requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018, employers are required to provide their employees with suitable PPE for the type of work being performed. If employees are not supplied with the appropriate equipment and an accident occurs, the employer may be held liable.

It is essential to check regularly for any updates to these regulations to fulfil your duty of care to your employees and protect yourself from liability. Workers should also receive training in how to wear and use PPE correctly, and how to maintain their equipment to ensure that it remains effective.

If you are still unsure about the type of PPE needed in your workplace, the HSE has issued a PPE Guide to help employers understand their duties concerning the provision of PPE and protect their workers against health and safety risks in their specific workplace.

Face masks and COVID-19

The use of face masks and visors has become more significant during the COVID-19 health crisis. Employers now have a legal responsibility to meet COVID-19 legislation and guidelines.

Face masks and COVID-19

The specific type of protection that workers need will depend on their job role. Face shields and masks are a minimum requirement, and you may need to stock up on additional equipment such as safety glasses, ear defenders, helmets, gloves or coveralls.

Face mask care and maintenance

Good care and maintenance will extend the life of PPE equipment. Single use face masks should be safely disposed of after use. However, reusable dust masks, respirators and face shields can be used for extended periods of time if they receive proper care and attention. This will include cleaning the equipment and storing it in a dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Frequently asked questions

What is PPE (personal protective equipment)?

PPE (personal protective equipment) includes clothing and equipment that has been designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury, infection or hazards such as electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards or airborne particles.

How often should a face mask or respirator be replaced?

When taking delivery of your face masks, you should make a note of any expiry dates or when they will need to be replaced. Disposable dust masks or single use dust masks such as Safetyshop’s JSP 111 FFP1 Disposable Dust Mask and JSP 132 FFP3 Disposable Respirator Dust Mask should be safely disposed of after use.

However, reusable lightweight face masks and lightweight dust masks can be used multiple times if treated correctly, and full-face respirators can be safely used until they begin to show signs of wear.

What are the best kinds of industrial face masks?

The type of industrial face mask you need will depend on the type of work being performed. If your workers are likely to come into contact with hazardous particles, you will need to purchase full dust masks or reusable face masks, such as the Honeywell Optifit Ergonomic Silicone Respirator Mask or the Honeywell Panoramasque Full Face Respirator Helmet.

If the work involves minimal contact with dust, lightweight face masks such as our Deluxe Disposable Fold Flat Masks and JSP Flexinet FFP3 Disposable Respirator Masks are likely to be a more comfortable option.