This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk discusses wearing face coverings correctly. In Philadelphia, all construction workers are required to wear masks unless they are in the act of eating or drinking. Not wearing masks correctly can result in a $2000 fine from Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (dated October 5, 2020).

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COVID-19: Face Coverings

The CDC and OSHA recommend wearing cloth face coverings as a protective measure in addition to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others). Cloth face coverings reduce the amount of large respiratory droplets that a person spreads with talking, sneezing, or coughing. Cloth face coverings may prevent people who do not know that they have the virus causing COVID-19 from spreading it to others.

Cloth face coverings are NOT PPE. They are not substitutes for PPE such as respirators or facemasks for jobs that require such protection.

Cloth Face Coverings Must Meet the Following Requirements

  • Fit over the nose and mouth and fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Be worn over the nose and mouth, not below the nostrils or pulled down under the chin.
  • Are secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Can be laundered using the warmest appropriate water setting and machine dried daily after the shift, without damage or change to shape (a clean cloth face covering should be used each day).
  • Are not used if they become wet or contaminated.
  • Are replaced with clean replacements, provided by employer, as needed.
  • Are handled as little as possible to prevent transferring infectious materials to the cloth.
  • Are not worn with or instead of respiratory protection when respirators are needed.

Masks with Exhalation Valves or Vents

  • Masks with one-way exhalation valves or vents permit more respiratory droplets to be expelled. They do not prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases.
  • The CDC DOES NOT recommend wearing masks with exhalation valves or vents.
  • Some jobsites have banned masks with exhalation valves or vents.

Face Shields & Neck Gaiters

  • Face shields can stop respiratory droplets from spraying. Face shields, however, are NOT yet proven substitutes for face masks or respirators, especially in enclosed spaces.
  • If face shields are used, they must wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin.
  • Reusable face shields need to be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Neck gaiters should have at least two layers of fabric, or worn folded over with at least two layers of fabric covering BOTH the nose and mouth.
  • Neck gaiters must be cleaned after each use.

Learn more about OSHA’s recommendations for the construction industry:

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