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IRIC safety alert

National Patient Safety Alert - NatPSA/2021/009/NHSPS

Published on 25 August 2021

From: Health Facilities Scotland

NatPSA/2021/009/NHSPS - Infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs)



A wide range of FFP3 respirators have been used as protection by staff across healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including FFP3 respirators with and without exhalation valves. The exhalation valves do not filter exhaled breath, even when of a ‘shrouded’ type.

Current infection control guidance states that: “Valved respirators should not be worn by a healthcare worker/operator when sterility directly over the surgical field is required, e.g. in theatres/surgical settings or when undertaking a sterile procedure”.