Alert – NV OSHA Provides Guidance On Employees Voluntarily Using N95/KN95 Masks
January 24, 2022
On January 21, 2022, Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NV OSHA) issued guidance to employers regarding the voluntary use by employees of N95/KN95 masks. Nevada’s mask mandate does not require employees to wear N95/KN95 masks, but some employees prefer to use them which is generating questions from employers.
When an employer requires certain types of respirators to protect the health of its employees, the employer must follow a federal OSHA regulation which requires a written respiratory protection program. Such a program must include a variety of procedures, including medical evaluations of employees required to use respirators, fit testing of respirators, cleaning and storing of respirators, and training for employees.
NV OSHA explains that as pharmacies and public health centers issue N95/KN95 masks to the public, employers are asking whether they can allow employees to wear such masks and whether they must adopt a written respiratory protection program for such employees.
The guidance clarifies that employers can allow employees to voluntarily wear N95/KN95 masks. Such employers do not have to adopt a written respiratory protection program and do not have to engage in the procedures required for such programs as long as the employees are wearing the masks voluntarily and the masks being used are N95/KN95 masks (filtering facepiece respirators).
But an employer that allows employees to voluntarily wear N95/KN95 masks needs to distribute to such employees the information contained in Appendix D to the federal respirator regulation and document employees’ receipt of such information.
NV OSHA cautions that all employers are required to assess respiratory hazards in the workplace and take the steps necessary to protect employees. If the employer determines that any type of respirator is required to protect employees’ health, the employer must develop a written respiratory protection program and meet OSHA’s requirements for such programs.
Please contact a KZA attorney for more information about this issue or with any questions you have.
KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.