Safety tip: L&I guidance if an employee cannot wear a mask

Aug 20, 2020
Written by wpengine

Employees with medical or disability issues that discourage wearing face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic must provide their employer with an accommodation statement from their doctor confirming that a face covering, or mask cannot be worn on the job, according to advice this week from Labor & Industries.

A message from L&I this week notes that employers cannot allow employees to work without a face covering the nose and mouth without a medical accommodation.

It continues: Employers should assess any negative impacts that face coverings might have on employees with disabilities and make accommodations per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For example, workers communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing may need to temporarily unmask while staying at least 6 feet away or behind a physical barrier or wear an approved face shield closed with fabric around the contour of the face and neck in order to allow for lip reading.

Go here for further L&I information on the use of face coverings in various work situations. Employers or employees interested in purchasing shields may start by going here.

Choosing the correct mask for COVID-19 prevention at work just got easier and quicker if you use L&I’s new web-based e-tool from your mobile device or computer.

Although not intended for hospitals, clinics or other treatment facilities, the e-tool is designed to help most businesses make informed choices based on the level of risk and whether users are working alone, indoors, outdoors, or in a vehicle.