OSHA Guide on Masks For Workers in Hot Conditions

Dec. 10, 2020

New guidance documents from OSHA outline measures employers should take to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the risk of heat-related illness among workers wearing cloth facial coverings in hot and humid conditions or performing strenuous tasks. 

According to Safety and Health magazine, OSHA’s outline says outdoor workers in construction should take frequent hydration and rest breaks in shaded, non-enclosed or air conditioned areas. Employers are also encouraged to examine the feasibility of wearing cloth facial coverings for every worker and consider alternatives, such as face shields. When workers are in close proximity, however, cloth facial coverings should be prioritized. 

Other recommendations include:

  • Allow workers to return to their personal vehicles during breaks to use the air conditioning, but don’t allow multiple workers to use the same vehicle.
  • If using fans in the workplace, avoid directing the airflow over multiple workers at the same time, because fans can increase the distance respiratory droplets travel.
  • Allow workers to wear personal passive cooling devices (cooling bandanas and icepack vests) and loose-fitting, breathable clothes–as long as they don’t present a safety hazard.
  • Increase frequency of communication to workers and encourage them to monitor themselves and others for signs of heat illness.

Source: Safety and Health Magazine