NEXT Info Index HOME  ©2001UnimaxNYC

Should I wear a mask while working?

"Masks, Eye Protection, and Face Shields.
Masks in combination with eye protection devices, such as goggles or glasses with solid side shields, or chin-length face shields, shall be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials may be generated and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can be reasonably anticipated."

  • "Surgical mask...were not designed or respiratory protective devices." Summary OpCit p.51

  • "...respirators are not recommended for protection against bloodborne disease because there is no evidence that bloodborne pathogens can be or have been transmitted in the healthcare workplace by the respiratory route." p.51

  • "Assuming a 'worst case' of a single virion infectivity and knowing the capability of minute aerosols to remain suspended in air and therefore spread widely through the facility, respiratory protection would be necessary for essentially every person within the facility. However, if such a situation were true, the Agency would expect seroconversion rates to be drastically increased among those exposed; but this does not appear to be the case. "Summary, p.52"

  • "OSHA is not aware of specific engineering controls and work practices that are currently available to address control of aerosols." p.51

  • ...the Agency (OSHA) lacks sufficient information in some important areas which it feels must be obtained before it can require employers to control exposures to aerosols...CDC and NIOSH...are unaware of research indicating viability of these viruses (HIV and HBV) in aerosols."

Westley Wood Opinion
"Masks not appropriate unless advised by health authorities ...but not prohibited either."

During Tattoo and Piercing, eye, nose and mouth contamination would not be  "reasonably anticipated" from splashes, spray, spatter or droplets of blood. Therefore,  the use of masks, eye protection and face shields would not be appropriately required to the task of tattooing or piercing.
Updated 05/16/2020  Covid-19 has added an infectivity route: reparatory, therefore facemasks are appropriate and at this time mandatory for you and your client.


What about face masks?

Masks intended to filter out airborne particles, like surgical masks, are useful but have a limited effect, according to public health officials. In the United States, where the threat of contracting the virus is low, they are not needed; but in China, health officials are recommending people wear them.

“Wearing a mask walking around isn’t going to do any good, but if you’re in a situation where you’re highly exposed, a mask is helpful,” said Colleen Kraft, associate chief medical officer for Emory University Hospital. “You may wear a mask when someone is going to cough directly on you or [in] a place with a lot of ill people. In a hospital, we wear a mask with patients who have influenza.”

Coronavirus spurs a run on face masks. But do they work?
Infectious disease experts stressed that masks need to be properly put on and off in order to be effective.