Wear a Cloth Face Cover in Public
COVID-19 – Stop the Spread
It has been determined that COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads very easily between people. The virus spreads mainly through respiratory droplets discharged from a person when engaged in typical daily activities such as talking, coughing, or sneezing. Studies have determined that the virus is spread by a person who has symptoms of COVID-19, but also by infected people who do not feel sick at all (asymptomatic). Outside of the friendly confines of your home, you simply do not know who has coronavirus.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to coronavirus. To “Stop the Spread”, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that you maintain 6 feet between yourself and others when in public spaces (Social Distancing). The CDC also recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering, especially in situations where Social Distancing is not possible. The intended purpose of the face cover is to capture respiratory droplets from an infected person and minimize the exposure of other people to the droplets, and therefore the virus.
Note: The face cover is not a substitute for Social Distancing. You must also continue to wash your hands, sanitize frequently touched hard surfaces (tools, handles, doorknobs, phones, etc.) and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth! When used correctly the face covering is offering an extra layer of protection.
Employees who wear a face cover must adhere to these CDC guidelines: The face cover should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction (to avoid dangers such as asphyxiation)
- Be removed from the face without touching your eyes, nose & mouth and then immediately wash your hands
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage (unless disposed of versus laundered)
- Be routinely laundered with water and soap – how often to wash depends on frequency and type of use
- Be thoroughly dried before wearing
If they become wet with saliva or sweat, face covers can become a growth environment for bacteria and other pathogens. Face covers can accumulate nuisance dust, silica or other respiratory health hazards that exist in the workplace. Face covers covered with saliva or mucous may excessively limit breathing. This can cause rebreathing of carbon dioxide or other infectious material. Employees with underlying respiratory or cardiac health conditions may be particularly susceptible to this hazard. A restriction of breathing fresh air can also create an asphyxiation hazard. Improperly worn face covers may obstruct your vision or steam up safety glasses. If a properly fitted face cover does not eliminate the obstruction so that you can work safely, you cannot use the face cover until safe to do so. A loose fitting face cover can become entangled in equipment. Secure all ties and ear loops to avoid caught-in & entanglement hazards. Do not share face covers. Follow all manufacturer’s directions on the use of face covers. Dispose used face covers in the trash.
While face covers may capture coronavirus, these types of cloth coverings are not respirators. They may not prevent infection and do not protect against hazardous chemicals. If other airborne hazards in your work environment require the use of a NIOSH approved Respirator, you must review the “Respiratory Protection Safety Policy outlined in Appendix K. of VSC’s Health & Safety Program and discuss with your VSC Corporate Field Safety Manager before proceeding.