Workplaces are not required to provide precautionary use of extra personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against coronavirus outside of clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case.
Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so. When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial.
This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.
What is a face covering?
“Face covering” is a term being used by the World Health Organisation and Governments to mean any covering of the mouth and nose intended to reduce the chance of the wearer expelling droplets into the air. A face covering can be made from any material, they do not include medical-grade masks used for infection control or respirators which are designed to protect the wearer from inhaling infected material.
When should you wear a face covering?
There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be beneficial as a precautionary measure, as it can reduce the risk of people unwittingly infecting others. The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms. This is most relevant for use in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained, e.g. shops or public transport.