05th Jan, 2021 Read time 3 minutes

How to wear a fabric face mask correctly

With the facemasks now a vital part of health and safety both within and outside of the workplace, knowing how to wear one correctly has become increasingly important. Face masks come in various forms, but the most popular outside of clinical settings are fabric face masks due to their comfort. 

Here we take a look at the rules of best practice for you and your employees to follow when they are wearing fabric face coverings. 

Guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Face masks are recommended as a means of controlling the spread of Covid-19 in situations where social distancing and other protection measures cannot be fully adhered to. 

The following video from the World Health Organisation offers guidance on how to use and wear fabric face masks: 

Rules to follow: 

  • Clean your hands before touching the mask
  • Check if the mask is dirty or damaged 
  • Wear the mask without gaps on the side
  • Cover the mouth, nose and chin
  • Clean hands before removing the mask
  • Try not to touch the mask
  • Remove the mask by the ear straps
  • Store the mask in a clean plastic bag if you are going to reuse it
  • Handle the mask by the straps
  • Wash the mask with soap/detergent in hot water once a day
  • Clean your hands after removing the mask

Things to avoid: 

  • Do not use a damaged mask
  • Do not wear a loose mask
  • Do not wear masks under the nose
  • Do not remove the mask when you are within 1 metre of someone
  • Do not use face masks that you struggle to breathe through
  • Do not wear a dirty or wet face mask
  • Do not share your masks with others


The guidance from the World Health Organisation will help keep your employees and members of the public safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Are fabric face basks classed as PPE?

Whilst the use of fabric face masks is being encouraged by governing bodies, they are not considered PPE unless they are worn in a medical setting. This is because they do not have to conform to any set manufacturing standards and do not protect against dust and spray.


Take the correct steps to safeguard all workers 

With the rise in Covid-19 cases now causing additional health and safety concerns around the world, it is important to take the necessary steps to safeguard all employees and members of the public. 

Make sure you know how to manage those working from home, and have conducted the appropriate Covid-19 risk assessments for workplaces that are still in operation. 


Useful resources on facemasks and Covid-19 health and safety

Official guidance from Gov.UK:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

Regulations on the use of face masks: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/791/regulation/3/made

HSE guidance on working safely during the pandemic: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

World Health Organisation face masks guidance: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

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