On June 10th, the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a series of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the use of masks in the workplace.

The new guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators. The guidance includes 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.

In general, OSHA recommends that employers encourage employees to wear face coverings at work. Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) without knowing it (i.e., those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets to others. This is known as source control.

Employers have the discretion to instruct their employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace based on the specific circumstances present at the work site. For some workers, employers may determine that wearing cloth face coverings presents a hazard.

These FAQ’s are the latest guidance from OSHA addressing protective measures for workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Further information can be found on the following link: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/covid-19-faq.html.