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VERIFY: OSHA does recommend face masks in public and businesses

A viral claim used the federal agency to push the idea that 'masks don't work.'

Two viral posts make a variety of claims about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and their stance on face masks.

One is an article claiming that OSHA says masks don’t work and violate oxygen levels. 

The other is a long chain message that claims to come from an OSHA certified expert. 

Both claim that the federal agency says cloth face masks are ineffective and can actually limit how much oxygen you get. 

Credit: VERIFY


Are these claims true? Did OSHA say face masks don’t work?


No. OSHA has detailed descriptions of which masks are best suited to different environments, and some of that can be taken out of context to appear like they don’t support face masks. 

But, with the full context, it’s clear that OSHA is actually in support of face masks in public places and businesses. 


On OSHA’s website, they write that “OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work.”

In an OSHA publication of guidance for “Returning to work,” they write: “Ensure workers wear appropriate face coverings, such as cloth face masks, to contain respiratory secretions.”

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And in a separate publication on “preparing workplaces for COVID-19,” they write: “Provide a face mask if feasible and available, and ask the person to wear it, if tolerated.”

Bottom Line-- OSHA does recommend the use of face masks as do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, and every state health agency. 

We can VERIFY claims that OSHA says masks don’t work -- are FALSE.

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