More and more Canadians are wearing masks at work and within their communities.
As with all personal protective equipment, it’s important to wear a mask properly to ensure effective protection and still practice good hygiene.
“Many of us are not used to wearing masks for prolonged periods of time or seeing them worn out in public,” said Rick Young, Health and Safety Representative for UFCW 1006A. “Masks have been proven to be an effective form of personal protective equipment that will help slow the spread of the virus within our communities and workplaces.”
Researchers have determined that infected droplets from COVID-19 can linger in the air for hours. In addition, individuals may be positive for COVID-19, but do not show symptoms. If masks are worn, the risk of transmission, from these potential carriers reduced.
Wearing a mask shows that you are committed to flattening the curve during this pandemic. You become a role model, showing others that you want to be part of the solution.
Your union is advocating for all members to wear masks at work, and in their communities. Here are some safety tips to help you properly wear masks.
- Wear a mask at work. Request one if it is not readily provided by your employer. If you encounter difficulty acquiring masks from your employer, contact your union rep. You can also bring your own mask(s) to work.
- If “proper” masks are not available, any mask is better than no mask. You can hand-make a cloth mask from used clothing and elastics, creatively use a scarf to cover your nose and mouth.
- Your mask should cover your mouth and your nose at all times. This includes when you are taking public transit, grocery shopping, filling the tank at the gas station, etc. Anytime you are outside of your home, you should consider wearing a mask.
- Take extra masks with you in the event they get damp or contaminated.
- Prior to wearing the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or rub your hands together with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Prior to removing the mask, follow the same practice.
- If you are wearing a cloth mask, ensure to wash it regularly. If you are utilizing a single-use mask, dispose of it when it gets damp.
- Ensure a snug fit over your nose and mouth. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
- Refrain from touching your face and your mask once the mask is in position.
- When eating, ensure to carefully remove your mask with clean hands, and dispose or put away your mask in a sanitary place. If your employer provides masks, get a new one to wear after your meal. If you brought an extra mask to work, wear that.
- Always practice good handwashing hygiene regularly to ensure you don’t touch an infected object and then touch your face.
“Remember wearing a mask is just one of the several actions you can take to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19,” said Young. “Ensure greater protection by practicing social-distancing, proper hand-washing throughout the day and refrain from touching your face.”
If you have any questions about personal protective equipment in your workplace, please contact your union rep.