The Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of Covid-19 issued by the Departments of Trade and Industry and Labor and Employment yesterday explicitly stated new and more stringent requirements on the use of personal protective equipment to protect workers from Covid-19.

The use of face shields are now part of the minimum public health standards. All employees who report for work physically must wear face shields at all times when in riding in shuttles or public transport and when interacting with colleagues, clients and visitors. These may be removed if necessary for the kind of work being done and if the occupational safety and health or the worker requires it.

The face shield must cover the entire length of the face including the sides, and if possible should extend to the ears below the chin. Visor type shields which only cover half of the face or only the eyes are prohibited.

The guidelines also states preference for medical grade face masks and prohibition of the use of masks with vents. According to the Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and other authorities, masks with valves or vents only offer a one-way protection and can lead to higher chances of virus transmission if the one wearing it is infected.

If cloth masks will be used, these should have provisions for insertion of additional filters, must be clean and washed daily. The filter should also be replaced daily or after every sneezing or coughing episode. Masks and filters must be properly disposed after use and hands must be washed/disinfected thoroughly.

Personnel manning company isolation areas are required to wear disposable gowns, face shields, medical grade masks, and gloves before attending to a symptomatic employee.

END/DJ Romero