The national economy is beginning to open up! With the reopening of the economy a large number of employees will be required to wear face masks in the workplace for the first time. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must provide a safe work environment for employees, which includes proper training on how to adequately use face masks in the workplace.
OSHA has published a series of answers to frequently asked questions that you can use as guidance. It outlines the difference between cloth face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators. Some key takeaways from OSHA are:
- Cloth face coverings are not considered PPE, and employers are not required to provide them.
- OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work.
- Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing!
- OSHA suggests following CDC recommendations, and always washing or discarding cloth face coverings that are visibly dirty.
- Employers must not use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed.
Employers should be familiar with this OSHA guidance and train their employees on the proper use of face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators. Employers are encouraged to review other COVID-19 safety guidelines by visiting the OSHA Coronavirus website at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/. For additional guidance, feel free to contact Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency at (847) 480-0800 or online at https://www.basslerins.com/