Face Masks at Work

Face Masks at Work

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that spreads through the respiratory droplets of infected patients, especially if they’re in close contact with others. As businesses reopen after months of stay-at-home orders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the use of face masks in offices, retail outlets, and public settings to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Keep reading to know more about implementing this public health guideline at your workplace.

How do face masks help?

When an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks, that person ends up spraying many respiratory droplets into the air, which may potentially infect those in the vicinity. A face covering offers a simple barrier that prevents infectious droplets from spreading into the air. Popularly known as source control, emerging data from various studies point to increasing evidence that face masks covering the nose and mouth help stop the spread of COVID-19. Since many COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, they may not be aware that they’re carriers of this dreaded virus and may end up giving it to all those who come in close contact with them. This is why it’s even more important to wear a simple face covering that will help prevent an asymptotic patient from transmitting the virus. Quill offers high-quality reusable face masks in a variety of colors and prints, ideal for daily use.

Prevention of COVID-19 in workplaces

As a business owner, you must do everything in your capacity to protect your employees and clients from contracting an infection at your facility. During a pandemic, it’s vital to adhere to public guidelines laid out by federal and state agencies that will go a long way in infection prevention among your staff and clients. Implement social distancing measures wherever possible to avoid close contact between people at your facility. This can include operating a drive-through, putting up transparent partitions, and placing signs and markers indicating 6 feet distancing and similar notifications. Require staff and customers to wear face masks at all times for when social distancing is not practical.

Clean, disinfect, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces at least once a day, and encourage your employees to take frequent hand washing breaks. Keep hand sanitizers at accessible locations throughout the workplace to ensure better hand hygiene. Ensure the hand sanitizer contains at least 60 percent alcohol for it to be truly effective in curbing the spread of infectious viruses and bacteria.

OSHA recommendations for face masks

To ensure the safety of staff and customers at workplaces, OSHA has issued guidelines that will help curb the spread of COVID-19. OSHA recommends the use of cloth face coverings as a practical means to control workplace infection. OSHA encourages all employees to wear a face mask at work. This prevents asymptomatic employees from potentially spreading the infection to others, which is also known as source control. OSHA also encourages employees in non-medical professions to stick to cloth masks to conserve medical-grade PPE equipment, including N-95 masks, for healthcare workers.

Encouraging customers to wear face masks

Encouraging staff and clients to wear face masks while they’re at your premises holds the key to keeping everyone safe while helping you keep your business up and running. Post prominent signage outside your business telling customers that they need to wear face coverings when they enter. This will ensure customers mask up before they step in. If possible, offer disposable face masks for free at your entrances, encouraging each client to grab one on their way to your store. Support your employees in asking clients to wear a face covering.

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CDC guidelines on wearing a face mask

The CDC recommends everyone above the age of 2 wear a face mask in a public setting. Before donning the mask, wash your hands and put it over your nose and mouth, securely it firmly under your chin. Ensure you’re able to breathe well after wearing the covering and don’t touch or fiddle with your mask without washing or sanitizing your hands. According to the CDC, wearing masks with two or more layers is an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19. Choose masks that feature a washable breathable fabric with a snug fit and those that don’t have gaps. Wearing a mask correctly and consistently in public places offers optimum protection against this infectious virus.

CDC recommendations on taking off a mask

To remove your face mask safely, carefully untie the strings behind the head or draw out the strings from the ear loops. Handle the mask only by the ties and fold outer corners together. Once you remove the mask, don’t touch your face, nose, or mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands.

CDC guidelines on cleaning cloth masks

The CDC encourages regular washing of cloth masks by laundering them in detergent and the warmest temperature setting appropriate for the cloth used to make the mask. Dry the mask in the highest heat setting until completely dry.

Even as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, businesses must rise to the challenge while doing everything in their capacity to keep employees and clients from contracting this infection. Most states in the United States require citizens to don a face mask in public places. Everyday preventive actions, such as wearing a face covering, social distancing when possible, and good hand hygiene, are key to conquering the threat of COVID-19 at your workplace.