Should Workers Be Allowed To Bring Their Own Masks At Your Business?

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COVID-19 instilled a sense of urgency in business owners to implement safety protocols in order to protect their workers and customers. Essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, was in short supply, and this caused the price to surge. During the first few weeks of the pandemic, we witnessed price gauging and a shortage of basic necessities such as face masks and toilettes. 

The worldwide production capacity increased, and pharmacies took hold of new supplies, hence the price started to normalize in recent weeks, and most of the general public now wear face masks. This begs the question: Should employees be allowed to wear their own masks voluntarily? Should all employees wear identical masks, or should they be allowed to bring their own masks?

This post will focus on the employer-vs-employee relationship during the pandemic, and how business owners should prepare for the future. While employers are legally obliged to supply PPE to workers, many of them might refuse to wear protective equipment or choose to bring their own. Where does the responsibility lie when it comes to the workplace?

EEOC PPE Guidelines

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidelines that mandate that all business owners must provide their employees with essential protection, such as face masks, gloves, or gowns which reduce the transmission. This doesn’t only apply to healthcare workers but other essential workers as well.

If your business relies on interaction with the public, such as a retail store or a food store, you should consider purchasing high-level protection for your employees. This includes respirator masks, such as DittoMask, which contain filtration systems that filter virus particles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not impose any legal requirements on businesses or individuals – while they recommend we wear face masks where social distancing is not possible, this is not a legal requirement.

Depending on your state, you may have to provide additional PPE. States all across the US take their own approach to the pandemic. Each governor may mandate their own requirements for facial protection for workers. The most essential piece of PEE is face protection, because the virus spreads by inhaling the particles.

In order to protect the workplace and the public at large, all employees must wear a face mask. As a business owner, you can opt for 2 types of face masks: Surgical masks or respirator masks. The issue with surgical masks is that employees must discard them after a single use, which means you’ll have to replenish your stock daily or weekly. If you purchase respirator masks, your employees can re-use them indefinitely. One such mask is DittoMask.

Develop a Policy On Face Masks

Business owners are finding it difficult to implement safety standards in the workplace, because the suggestions and protocols are changing daily. This makes it hard to keep up, and employers must go the extra mile to communicate these new policies to their employees. It’s better to change your existing policies than not have an emergency plan. Every time you develop a new policy, you should have a legal team ready to back the policy, and implement it through the human resources department to make sure all workers are compliant.

The businesses’ policy on face masks has to be based on guidelines supplied by the CDC and the state regulations. Start by checking your state government’s website and find out whether there are special guidelines or requirements for the workplace in your state. The key here is to implement an effective policy where all employees wear face masks. The specifics of the plan should vary based on your current resources and long-term plans.