Last week, OSHA published six frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers related to wearing cloth face coverings in the workplace. In addition to outlining the key differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators, theses FAQs provided the following guidance with respect to wearing cloth face coverings in the workplace:
- Employers are not required to provide its employees with cloth face coverings under OSHA’s personal protective equipment (PPE) standards because cloth face coverings are not considered personal PPE and are not intended to be used when workers need PPE such as respirators or surgical masks for protection against exposure to occupational hazards.
- Employers should encourage their employees to wear face coverings at work except in situations where the use of cloth face coverings may not be appropriate because they would either present or exacerbate a hazard (e.g., where they could become contaminated with chemicals used in the work environment and cause a worker to inhale the chemical collected on the face covering), or where the wearing of cloth face covering is incompatible with the wearing of other required PPE.
- Employers should continue to implement and enforce social distancing measures in the workplace regardless of whether employees wear a cloth face covering.
- Employees wearing cloth face coverings should follow CDC guidance on keeping them clean.
- Employers in the construction industry should not permit their employees to wear cloth face coverings or surgical masks when respirators are needed/required but not available. In those circumstances, OSHA recommends avoiding worker exposure to the hazard altogether, if the hazard cannot be eliminated through other engineering or administrative controls.
To read the FAQs and their answers in full, simply click on following link or copy and paste it into your web browser:
Because legal developments pertaining to COVID-19 are constantly evolving, we recommend that our clients call the Kullman Firm attorney(s) with whom they work for the most current guidance on these matters.