Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including non-medical masks, can be an effective line of defence against the spread of COVID-19. However, the mask is only as effective as its wearer. To be effective, masks must be donned, worn, and doffed properly. Masks that are worn improperly lose their effectiveness in the fight against the spread of COVID -19.
The Mask Myth
It is important to understand how masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and how they protect wearers.
There is a false sense of security associated with masks. Contrary to some belief, wearing a non-medical mask, such as a fabric or non-surgical grade mask, does not protect wearers from contracting COVID-19 in the event of an exposure.
You may ask, what’s the point of wearing a non-surgical mask if it doesn’t really protect me from COVID-19? Masks are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, and the point of wearing one is to protect others. If we all wear masks, the spread of COVID-19 will be reduced, minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Wearing a mask should be done in conjunction with proper handwashing and physical distancing.
How to Don your Mask
1. Before you put on your mask, practice proper hand hygiene either by washing the hands, or using hand sanitizer.
2. When the hands are clean, take a mask from the box, being careful not to touch the other masks.
3. Ensure the mask is free from tears and that the ear loops are secured. Then, determine the front and the top of the mask to ensure you put it on the correct way. The top of the mask usually has a bendable strip, and the front is usually the coloured side.
4. Place the ear loops over the ears and pinch the bendable strip over the nose.
5. Pull the bottom of the mask over the chin. The nose and mouth should be fully covered
How to Wear your Mask Correctly
While wearing a mask, you must protect its integrity to ensure it continues to work at maximum efficiency.
Once you’ve donned your mask, it should remain in place. It’s not recommended to touch the front of the mask. Do not slide it under the chin or dangle it from one ear. Masks should not be removed for any unnecessary reason, such as talking. When it must be removed for eating or drinking, it should be placed in a paper bag or with the inside of the mask facing up, placed on a clean surface. The mask should be changed if it becomes dirty, damp, or otherwise soiled.
How to Doff your Mask
1. To remove, or doff, your mask, you should again start with completing proper hand hygiene either by washing the hands or using hand sanitizer.
2. Using your fingers, grab the mask by the ear loops and gently lift it away from your face, being careful not to touch the front of the mask.
3. Discard the mask in an appropriate receptacle, such as a covered garbage bin or a wastebasket with a plastic bag insert.
4. Practice hand hygiene once more.
Doing Your Part For Safety
Wearing a mask is one way to do your part and contribute to the safety and wellbeing of others during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. However, remember that for some individuals, such as those with disabilities, those with illnesses that impact breathing, and children under the age of two, masks are simply unsuitable and cannot be worn. It is for these individuals that others wear masks, as masks do offer protection to the vulnerable and are effective at reducing the spread of COVID -19.
A poster featuring mask Dos and Don’ts published by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Best Safety Training Can Help
Best Safety Training offers a course in How to Properly Fit and Remove a Face Mask. This course is delivered online, so employees can safely participate in training while maintaining a safe and healthy physical distance. We also offer a course that covers the Effective Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). For those in occupations that require respirators, we provide Respirator Awareness Training as well.
Best Safety Training offers distance learning for your safety and convenience. Let the Best Safety Training company take care of your training needs.
To ask questions about safety leadership in the workplace and how to move forward safely, contact us online or call 226.777.7385. Visit us 24/7 on the web at bestsafetytraining.ca.