Over the last three months, face masks have become all the rage. In some cases, they are practically a fashion statement. Last week, I encountered full snorkeling gear in the produce section at the Harris Teeter and when Phase 2 allowed the re-opening of TJ Maxx, I waited in line for my turn to shop behind a gloriously bedazzled and bejeweled N-95. I’ve seen people in everything from paper towels to Halloween masks. Honestly, it warms my heart to see the intermingling of fashion and function, all in the name of safety.
Meanwhile, safety professionals are working to ensure employees are kept safe and provided the appropriate (if not the most fashionable) mask for protection. It’s become a little confusing and there is a lot of misinformation being circulated. To assist, OSHA has developed a resource to help clear the air. Check out their COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the differences between face coverings, surgical masks and respirators.
Holli Singleton is the Assistant Director of Safety & Health Services at NC State Industry Expansion Solutions. In addition to managing the services offered by the Safety and Health Specialists, she develops and presents workplace safety and health education courses, conducts worksite assessments and provides occupational safety and environmental assistance to employers throughout the southeastern region of the United States.