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Your regular update for technical and industry information

UK: The BSI updates the community face coverings specification (BSI Flex 5555 v2.0)


In March 2021, the British Standards Institution (BSI) published an updated version of the specification for the community face coverings BSI Flex 5555 v2.0:2021-031.

The standard was developed to provide the minimum performance requirements and test methods for community face coverings to ensure that single-use and reusable face coverings are safe for the users and fit for the purpose.

The first version ‘BSI Flex 5555 v1.0:2021-01’ was originally published in January 2021. After getting a wide range of expert comments, the specification has been updated. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been wearing face coverings to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus so as to control the spread of infection. Therefore, there is a need to define the performance requirements for community face coverings.

Following are the key changes in this updated version of the BSI Flex:

  • It clarified that “community face coverings” is neither a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) nor a medical face mask.
  • It provided cleaning guideline in details, i.e. 40°C minimum for home laundering and 70°C for communal laundry.
  • Adjustment requirements have been added for fitting properties.
  • The requirements for fastening strength have been changed to 10 N for single-use face coverings and 50 N for reusable face coverings.
  • The requirement of the differential pressure has been changed to ≤60 Pa/cm2, earlier identified as ≤70 Pa/cm2.
  • Enhanced information on labelling has been added.
  • A new section for environmental considerations has been added for disposal and sustainability.
  • An informative annex has been added for children’s face coverings.
The standard is available for download free of cost from BSI’s portal. 


[1]  Version 2 of BSI Flex 5555

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