The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published an update to its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to address whether OSHA considers cloth face coverings to be personal protective equipment. The agency is addressing the topic after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently determined that some cloth face coverings may serve as source control while also providing the wearer with some personal protection.
The FAQ states that OSHA does not believe enough information is currently available to determine if a particular cloth face covering provides sufficient protection from the coronavirus hazard to be personal protective equipment under OSHA’s standard. OSHA’s determination is consistent with statements made by the CDC, which has stated it needs more research on cloth facemasks’ protective effects, particularly on the combination of materials that maximize blocking and filtering effectiveness.
OSHA continues to encourage workers strongly to wear face coverings when in close contact with others to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, if it is appropriate for the work environment.
For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/.