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New OSHA Guidance On Cloth Face Masks


In its new guidance documents, OSHA recommends that employers follow the best practices to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the risk of heat-related illness, including:

  • Prioritize the use of cloth face coverings when workers are in close contact with others (less than 6 feet), such as during group travel or shift meetings.
  • Allow workers to remove cloth face coverings when they can safely maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Evaluate the feasibility of wearing cloth face coverings for each worker and consider alternatives (e.g., face shields) when appropriate.
  • Increase the frequency of hydration and rest breaks in cooled environments.
  • Incorporate at least 6 feet of physical distancing into break areas by staggering breaks, spacing workers, or limiting the number of workers on break at a time, where feasible.
  • Encourage workers to use cloth face coverings that optimize fit and comfort and are made out of breathable, moisture-wicking materials.
  • Encourage workers to change cloth face coverings when wet, as wet face coverings make it more difficult to breathe and are not as effective. Provide clean replacement cloth face coverings or disposable face masks, as needed, for workers to change into throughout the work shift.
  • Plan for heat emergencies and train workers on heat stress prevention and treatment.
  • Avoid scheduling strenuous tasks during the hottest parts of the day and alter work shifts to cooler parts of the day, when possible.
  • Allow workers to utilize personal passive cooling devices such as ice vests.
  • Increase the frequency of communication to workers and encourage workers to monitor themselves and others for signs of heat illness.

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