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The case for continued universal indoor masking and training too!

Masks in many workplaces may no longer be mandatory, but they remain a necessary protection against COVID-19 transmission just the same.

For this reason, in early April, Public Health Ontario (PHO) raised the issue of “re-implementing universal indoor masking in public settings,” singling out schools, students, families and educators as especially benefiting from this measure. In their most recent COVID-19 projections report the Ontario Science Table also stated unequivocally, “Community benefits from masking are most pronounced when adopted widely in public spaces, schools and workplaces.”

Both PHO and the Science Table emphasized though the need for superior fit and filtration, such as can be attained with an N95 or equivalent respirator. Citing a U.S. study, the Science Table highlighted the fact that wearers of N95 or KN95 respirators lowered their odds of testing positive for COVID-19 by 83 per cent.

However, how long the protection of respirators lasts is in large part dependent on the quality of masks others around them are wearing or not wearing. For instance, scientists have estimated those wearing a non-fit tested N95 respirator when confronted by an infectious person who is wearing no mask to be protected against COVID-19 for only 1.25 hours. When both persons are wearing non-fit tested respirators, protection was estimated to last 6.25 hours. This estimation was made prior to more infectious variants though. Why additional layers of protection such as improved ventilation and filtration and third or fourth COVID-19 vaccines are so important. And why masking is not just a simple matter of choice. Someone’s choice not to wear a mask can potentially harm another. In their recent report the Science Table also documented the emerging data on the range of serious medical conditions increased in the first year after COVID infection. 

Masking and training for protection

With this evidence in mind and Science Table COVID-19 modelling which “indicates that hospital occupancy is likely to continue to rise for some time,” Workers Health & Safety Centre is once again scheduling our training program on non-fit tested respirators in virtual classrooms.

Register now to secure your seat!
COURSE: Non-fit-tested respirators — virtual 
WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 2022
8:30AM to 10:30AM
11:00AM to 1:00PM
2:00PM to 4:00PM
Additional courses will be scheduled upon demand.
COST: $15.00

What to expect and bring to training?

Participants will learn critical information regarding respirator selection, use, care and limitations. How respirators work within much needed layers of protection will also be covered. Finally, this training will help ensure participants achieve the best possible respirator fit and seal short of formal fit testing.
This course also offers a superior online health and safety learning experience in a WHSC virtual classroom. Delivered over a secure Zoom platform and led by a highly qualified WHSC-trained instructor, course participants learn together in small, engaging classes — much like our traditional, learner-centred, in-person training courses. Training participants will need a high-speed internet connection and a computer with a properly functioning camera, microphone and speakers.
Participants will also need to bring to the course a N95 respirator or equivalent/superior respirator, as a central course activity will focus on each participant demonstrating respirator donning and doffing, plus how to perform a proper seal check. Haven’t secured a respirator yet? Check out the Masks4Canada tip sheet and retailer listing.

Employers' OHS obligations

Under health and safety law, employers are charged the greatest legal responsibilities for ensuring safe work, including the duty to take every precaution reasonable for the protection of workers. During this sixth wave of the pandemic in addition to respirators, the situation still demands a comprehensive workplace safety plan that also includes the ability to work remotely when possible, screening and rapid tests before entering the workplace, assured enhanced ventilation, physical distancing, contract tracing, adequate paid sick time, and vaccination requirements (The latest Ontario Science Table report also provided evidence documenting how COVID-infected persons with a third vaccine are less likely to be admitted to hospital and dramatically less likely to transmit the virus to others.).

Quality training offers a layer of protection too. As Ontario’s designated health and safety training centre, WHSC is the leading provider of training for workers, workplace representatives and supervisors. We continue to offer training essentials in virtual classrooms – training such JHSC Certification training, Supervisor Health and Safety training, Globally Harmonized WHMIS and Indoor Air training. We are also expanding locations for in-person Working at Heights training as well.

Don’t see what you need? Beyond the scheduled classes, and where participant numbers warrant, we can work with you to coordinate inhouse training for almost any of our training courses.

To learn more
Ontario Science Table COVID-19 Projections, April 14, 2022
What can masks do? The science behind COVID-19 protection

Call: WHSC training services representative in your area.
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