Public consultation benefits community face coverings standard

11 March 2021 

New community face coverings standard has benefitted from public comments, it has been updated to include new environmental considerations as well as enhanced guidance on labelling, cleaning, fitting, fastening, breathing resistance.

The second version of the standard, called Community Face Coverings – Specification, is freely available for use to help UK manufacturers, test houses, retailers and consumers to ensure single-use and re-usable face coverings are safe and fit for purpose.

Its publication coincides with the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK, where due to the COVID-19 pandemic people are wearing face coverings to reduce the projection of exhaled air and the spread of infection. They are designed to offer a level of protection for those around the wearer, but they can also limit penetration by respiratory droplets from another person into the wearer’s nose and mouth. A face covering can also minimize the amount wearers touch their nose and mouth. 

BSI, in its role as the UK National Standards Body, brought together a UK Advisory Group1 of expert healthcare, consumer and retail representatives to develop the specification.

Download the standard here: BSI Flex 5555 v2.0 Community face coverings — Specification

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Notes to the editor:

1Advisory Group

Bolton Consultancy Ltd; National Childrenswear Association; Shirley Technologies Ltd; Intertek; Cabinet Office; CPIN; University of Leeds, UK; University of Huddersfield; UK Hospitality; University College London; Nestle UK; SMTL; Rocialle Healthcare Limited; Which?; BSI; Pennine Healthcare.

Standard development

For speed, the Advisory Group has built on an existing document, the CEN WORKSHOP AGREEMENT CWA 17553 (2020) Community face coverings - Guide to minimum requirements, methods of testing and use, and refocussed the document for the UK market.

The standard is a fast-tracked agreement, developed through a consensus-building process, facilitated by BSI. The standard is a BSI Flex document, a new type of standard that is best suited to areas where there is a need to rapidly iterate and update content as best practice emerges. BSI Flex Standards are developed using repeated cycles of iteration and new versions. Find out more about Flex Standards here: