transforming risk into opportunity
January 21, 2022
Curious that N95 OR KN95 is now the new COVID "acceptable" mask
Steve Thompson Senior Vice President, Aspen Risk Management Group/ERGOhealthy a TRISTAR Company

Curious that N95 OR KN95 is now the new COVID "acceptable" mask.
In early 2020 I wrote an article on the potential medical consequences and dangers of having employees wear N95 respirators without proper medical testing. So it's been surprising that various Emergency Temporary Standards have been willing to forgo these essential medical evaluations for the use of N95 respirators.
My next concern is the wide circulation of the similarities and interchangeability between N95 and KN95 respirators and that KN95 is now "approved" in various states as an equivalent to N95. A quick reminder: N95 aligns with the standards set forth by the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH is recognized as the primary source of safety standards in the US. Conversely, KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006. According to the CDC's most recent warning regarding "counterfeit (fake) KN95 respirators: BE AWARE: About 60% KN95 respirators in the United States are counterfeit (fake) and DO NOT meet NIOSH requirements." First, KN95 respirators NEVER met the NIOSH requirements. Second, why would a state even advance the idea that employees can wear a KN95 when the CDC's reporting a large percentage of fake respirators circulating?

If you operate in a state that recommends or requires N95 (or KN95) respirators to "prevent the spread of COVID-19," I would highly recommend that you review the medical testing requirements that WERE in place before COVID. You will be surprised that people with heart disease, respiratory conditions like asthma, influenza, lung cancer and numerous others, obesity, and other conditions prevent using an N95 respirator.


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