COVID-19 Update: OSHA Issues Updated Face Coverings Guidance

June 16, 2020

Are your employees confused about the proper use of face coverings? Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  issued new guidance regarding face-covering protocols featuring frequently asked questions.

The guidance details the different varieties of masks, such as cloth face coverings (which are not appropriate substitutes for personal protective equipment), surgical masks, and respirators. It also explains the protective levels of each mask and offers instructions on how to properly wear them. 

An example of a frequently asked question is whether employees need to wear a mask if they are  farther than 6 feet away from co-workers. The guidance recommends that wearing a mask is best practice regardless of one’s distance to co-workers.  With some carriers being asymptomatic and having a lack of understanding of how infectious the virus truly is, it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing measures.

OSHA stresses that there is  still a shortage of N95 disposable filtering facepiece respirators, and people who can get by with regular face coverings  should donate their N95 respirators  to those who are working on the frontline.

For more guidance on face coverings specifically for workers in the cleaning industry, check out the new infographic released from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a division of ISSA.

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