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November 19, 2020 | U.S. Department of Labor
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OSHA Updates Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings as PPE

Some cloth face coverings may serve as source control while also providing wearers with some personal protection

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.

Visit OSHA's COVID-19 webpage for further information and resources about the coronavirus.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit osha.gov.

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