London – 17 August 2020: A new research report by the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University concludes the use of personal protection seat shields in conjunction with face masks significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 contamination.
The report, ‘Face Coverings, Aerosol Dispersion and Mitigation of Virus Transmission Risk’, investigates the effectiveness of different face coverings to inform guidelines on the use of PPE. It finds that both face masks and shields allow for significant leakage of fluid particles, particularly if worn incorrectly or from heavy breathing and coughing.
London Biggin Hill Airport-based aircraft interior and exterior specialist, RAS Completions, is calling for airlines to adopt the use of protective seat shields alongside the mandatory use of face masks on aircraft. The company’s Personal Protection Window (PPW), a clear plastic barrier which can be fixed to the back and sides of any aircraft seat, is the first of its kind to be fully aircraft approved.
Dr Cathal Cummins, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Institute for Infrastructure & Environment from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, who co-authored the report, says: “Our recommendation is that airlines should make face masks mandatory, and if used in conjunction with PPW and regular cleaning of PPW, COVID-19 contamination risk is kept to a minimum. If all three measures are mandatory, together with good personal hygiene, airlines can increase passenger protection.”
The report finds that jets of air can leak out of the sides and back as well as the front of masks. This is important when using masks on public transport or when seated on aircraft. RAS Completions’ PPW is designed to shield passengers from this lateral person-to-person droplet transmission.
Russell Pitt, Director, RAS Completions says: “Unlike many designs, our PPW can be safely installed without blocking or removing the middle seat, making it a viable option for airlines who want to provide an added layer of protection beyond masks. Passenger confidence is key to the recovery of air travel, and it is clear following this study that protective seat shields like ours will keep people safe and go a long way in encouraging a return to the skies.”
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