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What Employers Need To Know About Masks

Person wearing a dust mask.

January 4, 2022

A post from law firm Littler addresses what is obviously a fluid and rapidly evolving situation, listing what’s required as well as what is recommended for employers, federally and state-by-state, “as of December 30, 2021 at 4:00 p.m (Central).” The post acknowledges it likely will be outdated soon and promises updates.

Which masks are good for what? That question is addressed in a general way in a Boston Globe article, which recommends N95, KN95, or KF94 masks, given the prevalence of the highly contagious omicron variant, and notes they are far more accessible and affordable than they were earlier in the pandemic. Regarding personal use, it also includes a practical tip about something many have wondered about. The executive director of a national clearinghouse for personal protective equipment and COVID-19 tests, called Project N95, says those who don’t work in health care and consider their supply of N95s limited can make them last with some degree of effectiveness by instituting a “rotation.” That means wear one mask for one day and then leave it in a paper bag for a week for decontamination. She says a mask can be good for up to 40 hours of use by way of this technique.

A more detailed discussion of masks can be found in a post from RHP Risk Management and a number of sites it links to. One of them, a CDC post, lists mask products in the form of a chart, looking not only at filtering specs, but variables such as re-usability and sealing capacity.

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