27 May Face Masks Dos and Don’ts For the Workplace
As states are slowly opening up around the country, employees are beginning to leave their comfy home offices and head back to work. For many companies, face masks may be highly encouraged or even mandatory when at work. However, for face masks to be effective at limiting the spread of viruses, there are certain guidelines you need to follow.
Here are a few of the dos and don’ts for wearing a face-covering while in the workplace.
DO Provide Instructions or Training on How to Wear Face Masks
It may seem silly but many individuals do not know how to properly wear a face covering. Masks should cover both the mouth and the nose and it should be a tight fit. They should not fall off or be loose around these facial features. Take the time to show your employees how to properly wear the mask, what a secure fit looks like, and even how to remove the mask at the end of the day to avoid any cross-contamination.
DON’T Share Face Coverings
What happens if an employee forgets their mask one day? Can they use an extra cloth mask that an employee wore the day before? It is important that masks are not shared between individuals, even if each person feels fine and is showing no symptoms of the virus. If you are requiring all employees to wear face masks, it is wise to encourage employees to bring their own, but have a supply of single-use masks that employees can use as needed.
DO Explain the Difference Between Mask Types
There are several face mask options and it can be confusing for your employees to know which type of mask is adequate to wear in the office. The most common mask types include:
N95 – N95 masks are the most effective mask but should not be worn by the general public. These masks are for essential workers who are on the frontlines and are working directly with patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are ill with another sickness or health condition. These masks are in short supply so they should be left to essential workers.
Surgical Masks – Disposable masks, or surgical masks, are not as effective as N95 masks but when worn properly, they help limit the spread of the virus. These masks should only be worn once and then immediately discarded. COVID-19 is spread from large droplets and particles in the air. These masks protect the wearer from these droplets and do well at filtering out larger particles in the air.
Cloth Masks – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth masks in public and at work if maintaining proper social distancing guidelines. Again, these masks should be worn tightly around the face and should not be touched. The CDC has provided extensive guidelines on how to make these masks as well as how to wear and care for them.
DON’T Forget Social Distancing Guidelines
Even when encouraging your employees to wear a mask, other protective measures must remain in place to limit the spread of the virus and to keep your employees and customers safe. Social distancing guidelines must be followed and should be heavily enforced. You should also provide cleaning supplies throughout the office, allowing your employees to clean all high-touch areas and their workspaces throughout the day.
Face masks are just one way to help limit the spread of the virus and to keep your employees and customers safe. Are you recommending these coverings in your workplace?