Guide to FFP levels - Respiratory PPE

The higher the number the higher the protection!

If you didn’t know, the abbreviation FFP stands for filtering facepiece.

The type of mask and RPE you need will depend on the hazard, risk and situation you are in.

FFP1 masks give the minimum level of protection against non-toxic particles. They have less filtering capabilities and less breathing resistant. Most FFP1 masks will also not have an exhalation valve.

Protects you from brick dust, pollen, sugar, limestone, coal dust.

FFP2 masks offer slightly more protection against hazardous particles and fumes. Due to the greater breathing resistance, it’s likely that these masks have an exhalation valve.

Protects you from cotton dust, brake dust, granite dust and more.

FFP3 masks provide the highest level of protection. These masks are designed to protect you from more hazardous particles therefore you should ensure they are fitted well to the face.


Please remember, there are many different types of RPE designed to protect workers from varying hazards. Assessments should be completed before work commences to know what PPE is needed for the job. No two jobs will be the exact same, situations change and so do the surroundings so please make sure that the appropriate risk assessments are completed.

Wearing RPE is very important. We understand that sometimes it may be difficult to convey this importance to staff. Click the resource below from the HSE to help you communicate with your team. It will help you understand why they don’t wear their RPE correctly and help them to understand the importance of RPE.


We would also like to share the below document from BSIF. This is part of their Clean Air Take Care campaign which helps you decide how to approach breathing hazards at work and what types of RPE are available.

clean air take care leaflet

If you would like to discuss RPE in more detail please get in touch with us using the form below.