OSHA Addresses Inaccurate Claims that Face Coverings Cause Wearer Harm

OSHA generally recommends that workers wear medical masks or cloth face coverings at work to protect against the coronavirus. OSHA’s recently published page addresses false claims that these coverings cause unsafe oxygen and carbon dioxide levels for the wearer.

By now, we all know that cloth face coverings and masks greatly reduce the risk of transmitting and contracting the coronavirus (assuming both parties are wearing a mask). While scientists are still studying the virus to its full extent, there have been a number of controlled tests done that prove the efficiency of the mask to protect people.

OSHA highly recommends that people wear masks—especially in the workplace when you are working in the same area as others. However, there have been many misconceptions regarding masks and the science behind them that have caused many people to not wear masks, or do so with worry for their health.

To address those misconceptions, OSHA recently issued frequently asked questions (FAQ) guidance to address inaccurate claims that these masks and face coverings cause unsafe oxygen or harmful carbon dioxide levels for the wearer.

For example, OSHA addressed the question Does wearing a medical/surgical mask or cloth face covering cause unsafe oxygen levels or harmful carbon dioxide levels to the wearer? OSHA answer, which is supported by other scientific bodies, is:

“No. Medical masks, including surgical masks, are routinely worn by healthcare workers throughout the day as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE) ensembles and do not compromise their oxygen levels or cause carbon dioxide buildup. They are designed to be breathed through and can protect against respiratory droplets, which are typically much larger than tiny carbon dioxide particles…”

OSHA addresses a number of other common questions about the safety and purpose of masks. Read the facts here so you do not spread misinformation.

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OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2020

    September 2020

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