18 August 2020
Face masks provide one means of preventing the spread of coronavirus infections. It is still of primary importance that you maintain physical distance of 1–2 metres whenever possible, wash your hands, cough into your sleeve or a disposable tissue, and avoid touching your face. See the recommendation by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Employer’s risk assessment determines the necessity to wear protective masks at the workplace
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the employer must ensure the health and safety of employees at work. It is the employer’s responsibility to assess the risks at the workplace and determine whether it is necessary for employees to wear protective masks such as respirators or, in the case of coronavirus, also face masks.
The safety of employees should primarily be secured by technical actions and work arrangements. Primary risk management measures during the coronavirus pandemic are to rearrange work tasks, keep a safe distance from others and ensure good hand hygiene and ventilation.
When are face masks necessary?
Face masks may be necessary in situations where it is impossible to maintain a safe physical distance, the duration of close contacts is more than 15 minutes and others need to be protected from the mask user’s respiratory secretions.
Following a risk assessment, if the employer deems respirators and face masks necessary, the employer is obligated to supply protective masks and oversee their use. The employee is obligated to wear the protective gear provided by the employer.
You can find more detailed instructions on how to use protective masks in the following guidelines
Further information firstname.lastname@example.org – from where questions will be forwarded to our experts.