Name: Face mask.

For Halloween? No, but it does protect you against some pretty scary stuff. 

Like my own reflection. That, but also things like dust, fumes, chemicals, and biological agents of risk group 2.

I’m a farmer, why am I fighting biological agents? Biological agents are things like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and types of animal diseases that can also affect humans. They’re classified from Risks 1-4, with 1 being the least hazardous to humans and 4 being the most.

Yikes, I don’t like the sound of that! Nor should you, which is why face masks are important if you’re likely to come into contact with this type of thing. If you’re doing anything that involves close work with hazards, such as fine dust from crop harvesting or if you’re cleaning out chicken sheds, you need to make sure you’re protecting yourself.

Sold! I’ll take a hundred! Okay I’m loving the enthusiasm, but there are a few things you need to consider first. What kind of protection do you need, how long will you be wearing it for, will it fit properly?

Will it fit? What are you trying to say about my face? Nothing, you have a lovely face. But because face masks are protecting you against teeny tiny baddies, they rely on a good seal against the face to make sure that any air you breathe goes in through the filter. There is something called the face fit test, which should be carried out by a competent person, and will help determine which mask is best. Search online to find a Health and Safety Executive accredited Face Fit tester in your area.

Okay that makes sense, but what about my beard? Won’t it look silly poking out underneath a mask? Ah, so it’s very difficult to get an effective mask seal when there’s facial hair involved, as ‘dirty’ air can bypass the mask through any gaps created by a beard. There are options available if you have a good reason for a beard, such as religions reasons, but generally clean-shaven is best.

Right, I best get the sheep shearers out then. So which mask should I go for? Masks can be split into a few different categories: disposable vs reusable (which kind of speaks for itself), as well as half face vs full face. Half face masks cover the mouth and nose, and offer a comfortable option if masks need to be worn for long periods of time or need to fit under other equipment, such as a welding helmet. Disposable options include the Venus FFP2 or the 3M 9322+ Mask, while the Moldex 7000 series are reusable half masks.

And if I don’t do halves? If you want something that covers your whole face, the Moldex 9000 is a great option. And at less than 13 ounces it’s still pretty lightweight, which means you won’t need a neck like Arnold Schwarzenegger to wear it.

I’ll look the part, but how will I know if it’s actually working? Well in some case you’ll feel the benefit straight away – no more coughing and spluttering in dusty environments. And rest assured, the testing and certification details of the face masks are displayed on the product pages to show you what protection you’re getting.

Say yes to: All Agri face masks.

Say no to: Naked faces.