ROMEOVILLE, IL. — As COVID-19 infections reach record levels, due in large part to the highly contagious Omicron variant, employers are struggling to keep workers safe and productive while keeping absences at a minimum. Masks remain one of the most effective ways to prevent transmission of the virus. And not just masks, but the right ones — high-quality N95 respirators designed specifically to protect the wearer from the virus and provide the intended occupational safety, based on the type of work.

To help educate safety managers and others on mask safety and choosing the right masks, Magid released a comprehensive guide as part of its “Safety Matters” series of instructional safety materials.

“Companies in every industry are working hard to keep employees safe from COVID, focusing on their health and wellbeing, while trying to keep operations running as effectively as possible,” said Beth Sutherland, marketing communications manager, Magid. “In Magid’s newest ‘Safety Matters,’ we look at the effectiveness of different face coverings, as well as mask best practices, such as proper fit and removal.”

The "Safety Matters" installment cites a 2020 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which concluded N95 respirators are almost twice as effective as commercial three-ply cloth masks in blocking particulates that could contain the virus. In the course of the study, N95 respirators prevented 99 percent of aerosol particles 7 microns or smaller from breaching the protective barrier.

“Safety is paramount to success with every organization,” Sutherland said. “Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace is a top concern and selecting and supplying the right face coverings can have a significant impact on those efforts.”