Corona Protection from the DEKRA Lab

A simplified test is intended to help cover the demand for corona protective masks more quickly. The DEKRA Testing & Certification laboratory in Essen will support manufacturers by providing the new mask flash test.

DEKRA is helping to bring additional protective masks during the corona crisis. Photo: DEKRA

DEKRA is helping to bring additional protective masks during the corona crisis. Photo: DEKRA

Corona protective masks are in short supply worldwide, and the demand is huge. As early as the beginning of March, the WHO expressed concern about the lack of personal protective equipment, which endangers healthcare workers worldwide, and called on industry and governments to increase production.

DEKRA expertise is helping to bring additional protective masks to the German market to fight the coronavirus. This shall be achieved with newly developed testing principles for corona protective masks. DEKRA Testing & Certification in Essen is one of three laboratories in Germany that is suitable for testing protective coronavirus masks in accordance with new testing principles. The objective is to make protective masks that could not previously bear the required CE marking available in the fight against coronavirus with targeted tests.

At the recommendation of the EU Commission (2020/403) dated March 13, 2020, the market supervisory authorities may define simplified processes for the procurement of “coronavirus masks.” This accelerated process is designed to allow technically effective masks to be approved for public use by the market supervisory authorities. This means that masks that have not yet undergone the necessary but complex EU conformity assessment procedures in accordance with PSA-VO (EU 2016/425) can, as an exception, be made available on the German market.

DEKRA has been testing the first samples

DEKRA Testing & Certification, with its special laboratory in Essen, is one of the two entities recognized in Germany as a notified body for respiratory masks (FFP masks). The Central Office of Federal States for Safety Technology (Zentralstelle der Länder für Sicherheitstechnik – ZLS) in Munich has now tasked DEKRA and IFA with establishing shortened testing principles. The objective was to create a rapid process that allows for a technical statement on protection from coronaviruses and is accepted by the German market supervisory authority.

DEKRA has been testing the first samples in accordance with the newly formulated testing principles at its laboratory in Essen. In this context, DEKRA is not acting as a certifying entity, but instead prepares a test report and confirms compliance with the testing principles independently of the relevant standards or PPE Ordinance.

Which types of protective masks are available and to what extent do they protect against infection?

Windflöte, Illustration: Michael Stach, Papierhintergrund: Tomograf/IstockPhoto

Photo: Shutterstock – Rawpixel.com

Surgical Mask:

This mask protects against the penetration of liquid droplets. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), wearing it is useful for protecting others when you’re coughing or sneezing yourself. It’s important to fit it tightly onto your face. In addition, it’s essential to maintain a minimum distance of at least 1.5 meters and to observe hand hygiene. According to the RKI, the risk of infection isn’t significantly reduced for people who wear surgical masks. The mask does not seal and must be disposed of after each use.

Windflöte, Illustration: Michael Stach, Papierhintergrund: Tomograf/IstockPhoto

Photo: Shutterstock – burakguralp

Filtering Face Piece (FFP):

Respiratory or FFP masks are “half masks” that cover the nose and mouth. These masks protect against particulate pollutants such as dust, smoke, and aerosols. They are available in the protection levels FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3 and are standardized throughout Europe according to EN149:2001+A1:2009. According to the WHO and RKI, they should currently only be worn by doctors and medical nursing staff – with at least protection level 2, as people are only protected against droplets and aerosols that transmit SARS-CoV-2 from level 2 upwards. Depending on the classification, FFP masks can be worn for longer periods or are suitable for reuse.

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