Using face masks in workplaces
Where the work or task requires the use of specific types of face masks in the workplace, these must be provided by the employer.
Employees have a duty to cooperate with their employer's actions to comply with their duties under the OHS Act.
In some industries, specific types of face masks are required. Where the work or task requires the use of specific types of face masks in the workplace, these must be provided by the employer.
Where an employee seeks to provide and use their own face mask at work, an employer must ensure that it is meeting its obligations under the OHS Act which includes, so far as is reasonably practicable, providing and maintaining a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. This includes undertaking a risk assessment, ensuring that the face mask is safe and suitable for the workplace and work activities being performed, providing policies and procedures in relation to the use of face masks in the workplace and that the employee or independent contractor has received information, instruction and training in the safe use of face masks within the workplace.
Employees may already wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to control risks associated with their work. Where RPE is worn at the workplace, the employer must conduct a risk assessment to ensure the level of RPE provided controls the risks associated with their work, including the risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The CHO direction to wear a face mask does not apply to people with breathing difficulties or any other condition that makes it difficult to wear one.