OSHA Publishes Guidance on Face Coverings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published an FAQ on face coverings in the workplace to”help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.”

The guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators. It also reminds employers not to use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are required. Also, 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.

OSHA reiterated that these are not new regulations, but guidance meant to advise employers about how to provide a safe workplace. Additionally, they clarified that cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE).

Under OSHA, employers are not required to provide face coverings. However, states or municipalities may do so, and many do, including Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Please note that there are also county and city laws in each state that may be more restrictive. You must check your local orders as well as the state. Our coronavirus resource page has links to state pages.