November 19, 2020

OSHA: Cloth Face Coverings Are Not PPE Under Agency Standard

OSHA has updated its website to address whether it will consider cloth face coverings to be personal protective equipment following the publication of a scientific brief from CDC that concludes cloth masks provide some personal protection for wearers. According to OSHA, there is not enough information available to determine whether a particular cloth face covering provides sufficient protection from COVID-19 to be considered PPE under OSHA's standard. The agency’s guidance remains unchanged: OSHA does not consider cloth face coverings to be PPE and face coverings are not required under its PPE 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 states in a press release.

OSHA continues to “strongly encourage” workers to wear face coverings when they are in close contact with others.

Further information and resources from OSHA about COVID-19 are collected on the agency’s website.