U.S. Department of Labor Issues Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Face Coverings, Surgical Masks and Respirators in the Workplace

OSHA has released a resource guide for frequently asked questions regarding the use of face coverings, respirators and masks in the workplace. Here's what you should now.

OSHA has released a resource guide for frequently asked questions regarding the use of face coverings, respirators and masks in the workplace. With workplaces beginning to open and regulations on facemasks loosening around the country, employers and workers should understand what OSHA and the CDC recommend regarding facemask—not just for your protection, but for others’ as well.

See the news release below from June 10, 2020:

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a series of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the use of masks in the workplace.

“As our economy reopens for business, millions of Americans will be wearing masks in their workplace for the first time,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA is ready to help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.”

The new guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators. It further reminds employers not to use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed. In addition, the guidance notes the need for social distancing measures, even when workers are wearing cloth face coverings, and recommends following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on washing face coverings.

These frequently asked questions and answers mark the latest guidance from OSHA addressing protective measures for workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, OSHA published numerous guidance documents for workers and employers, available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/, including five guidance documents aimed at expanding the availability of respirators. For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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