COVID-19: OSHA Updates Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Employees and In Schools
On Aug. 13, 2021, OSHA released updated guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The new guidance updates OSHA’s recommendations for fully vaccinated employees and for schools, and it supplements certain industry-specific guidance.
The new guidance suggests fully vaccinated individuals:
Wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission;
Opt to wear a mask in all areas, particularly if individuals are considered “at-risk” or have someone in their household who is at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated; and
Get tested 3-5 days following known exposure to someone with COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result is received.
OSHA also recommends encouraging or requiring customers and visitors to wear masks whenever possible in areas of substantial or high transmission. OSHA accepts the CDC’s definition of “areas of substantial or high transmission,” which at this time includes almost everywhere in the United States.
Additionally, OSHA proposes schools should continue to follow applicable CDC guidance, which recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The updated guidance also expands on appropriate measures for protecting workers in the following industries: manufacturing, meat and seafood processing, high-volume retail and grocery, and agricultural processing.