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Are you guys making masks mandatory in office spaces and lunch rooms?

Mask lunch room breakroom office wearing covid-19

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#1 SQF-123

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 06:00 PM

Right now it is mandatory in our facility that employees wear masks in production, but are you guys making them mandatory within office spaces and lunch rooms (on breaks, lunch, etc)?

 

 

 



#2 olenazh

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 06:08 PM

Hey, how are they supposed to eat when wearing masks?:) We used to have a 3-persons in lunch room rule, but now we're kind of back to normal. Though, I continue performing temperature screening



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#3 SQF-123

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 06:14 PM

Thanks! :)

True, we have social distancing measures in lunch rooms as of now. I am just unsure of how picky auditors will be in up coming audit period.



#4 MsMars

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 06:19 PM

What does your internal poilicy on masks say? I think from a technical standpoint as long as your employees are following the 6ft rule or have other barriers in place (plexiglass dividers, etc.) they should be OK without a mask in common office/lunch room areas, but an auditor will go by what your written policy states. 



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#5 olenazh

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 06:20 PM

Really, depends on the auditor: when I was having my remote FSSC audit end of March, the auditor asked me a lot of questions regarding our virus protection programs/policies, procedures, measures, etc. 



#6 TimG

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 06:40 PM

We have provided masks, but have not mandated their use. 

To reiterate what others have said, try to make sure whatever stance your company takes is what is currently being followed. An auditor will most likely not go to bat on what they think you should do, but they can (and should) definitely get you for not following what you SAY you are doing.



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#7 Setanta

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 07:27 PM

Masks are to be worn in office areas, production, and warehouse and when not eating or drinking in the break room


-Setanta         

 

 

 


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#8 olenazh

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 07:33 PM

Masks are to be worn in office areas, production, and warehouse and when not eating or drinking in the break room

Hi Setanta; Are your people really wearing masks when sitting in front of their computers at the office? How to breath normally? I've always been curious how people manage breathing wearing those all the time even if not necessary! It seems, we're going to develop gills eventually if the situation doesn't change:)



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#9 MsMars

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 08:18 PM

Hi Setanta; Are your people really wearing masks when sitting in front of their computers at the office? How to breath normally? I've always been curious how people manage breathing wearing those all the time even if not necessary! It seems, we're going to develop gills eventually if the situation doesn't change:)

 

I'd much rather wear them while sitting in front of a computer than while running around in production areas. The medical-grade masks seem to "breathe" better than cloth masks.  It may be necessary to wear them while in an office setting if you cannot effectively distance from your colleagues.  You make it sound as though you don't have much experience with wearing a mask? IME it is a minor inconvenience which serves the greater good. 



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#10 kettlecorn

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 09:48 PM

I'd much rather wear them while sitting in front of a computer than while running around in production areas. The medical-grade masks seem to "breathe" better than cloth masks.  It may be necessary to wear them while in an office setting if you cannot effectively distance from your colleagues.  You make it sound as though you don't have much experience with wearing a mask? IME it is a minor inconvenience which serves the greater good. 

I agree, and I thought I'd share this study that was published a couple days ago that summarizes 115 of most recent scientific research that has been done in the last three months: https://brightspotcd...asks-abbott.pdf

 

It's pretty clear that wearing masks as source control is highly effective, but for it to be fully effective, everyone must wear masks and remain at a safe distance when not wearing a mask (such as when eating). 

 

The inconvenience of wearing a mask is small compared to the risk of letting people in the company not wear one. Since we recently had an employee come into close contact with someone who has tested positive, we are now requiring masks at all times, except when eating food at lunch (during which time employees must stay more than six feet apart). This is about employee safety, but it's also about our company being able to function without a shutdown. 



#11 mgourley

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 12:07 AM

I am reluctant to get into the mask/no mask debate.
We require them on the production floor. 
I am not going to wear one in my one person office, when other people are not present. If people want to engage me in conversation in person in my office, they can stand at the doorway, which is over 6 feet away from me.

 

Marshall



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#12 kettlecorn

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 12:45 AM

I am reluctant to get into the mask/no mask debate.
We require them on the production floor. 
I am not going to wear one in my one person office, when other people are not present. If people want to engage me in conversation in person in my office, they can stand at the doorway, which is over 6 feet away from me.

 

Marshall

I can't see why this should be a problem. If other people stand at the doorway, more than six feet away, that should be more than fine. The problem arises, such as in my particular office, when multiple people coalesce. 

 

I agree that the mask/no mask debate is pointless. My point above is about source control. There is, as the BYU study suggests, and it is the most comprehensive to date, more than consensus on the idea that universal wearing of masks is the best option to date, far better than shutdowns, especially for public and company health. I would recommend others read it. 



#13 pHruit

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 08:09 AM

How to breath normally? I've always been curious how people manage breathing wearing those all the time even if not necessary!

This is a question / argument that I've seen quite frequently in recent weeks. The thing that stands out for me is that various medical professionals have to wear masks routinely for potentially many hours on end - do people think surgeons are going to be able to perform at their best for multi-hour operations if masks really impede breathing?

There is certainly a psychological impact for some people with wearing a mask for the first time, but it's entirely possible to acclimatise to it as they really don't limit the flow of oxygen. I'd suggest that if you're wearing a mask with holes so fine that it is impervious to O2 molecules then you've accidentally put a plastic sheet over your face, not a mask ;)

 

We're still operating on limited numbers to allow easy 2m separation where possible, with limitations on people entering the lab, staggered breaks etc, but have implemented masks for movement around some of the office areas where people are likely to meet in corridors. Offices have been rearranged so that the reduced numbers present are all sat >2m apart, and offset so they don't directly face each other.



#14 Sanslife

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 08:54 AM

Actually it is depending on what is your company policy regarding mask wearing. For my plant, we have set up acrylic transparent board separating each worker when facing each other and do marking on the seating so that social distancing can be practiced. Eventually, you need to take off your mask when eating, just wear back the mask after you finish your meal.



#15 sqflady

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 12:26 PM

We also are requiring the use of masks or face shields in production areas.  Masks are not required in the break rooms while eating.  In the offices, masks are not required when you are in your own office by yourself.  We do require them in common areas of the office, meetings, and when there is more than one person in an office.



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#16 Setanta

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 01:13 PM

Hi Setanta; Are your people really wearing masks when sitting in front of their computers at the office? How to breath normally? I've always been curious how people manage breathing wearing those all the time even if not necessary! It seems, we're going to develop gills eventually if the situation doesn't change:)

 

Generally, we ARE wearing them while sitting at the computer...which is not a full time situation for anyone in this office. If people are spending long periods of time at their computer by themselves, I agree masks 100% of time isn't necessary. And people in their offices alone do take them off...

 

However, no one seems to sit still for very long in our office. Someone is always off to check this information, get something off the printer, chat with this person, or grab more coffee. Also our offices are in rather close quarters. As a result, masks are worn or available to be thrown on almost all the time.

 

Like Doctors, who have to wear them for hours...no one is lacking oxygen. Masks get warm and people take them off for while to cool off. But with sweeping generalities masks are being worn quite a bit of the time


-Setanta         

 

 

 


#17 Bo16

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 01:52 PM

Our state has mandatory mask use, so there is no option for staff.  Since we are in Pennsylvania and are less than 2.5 hr from NYC the first epicenter of this outbreak in the States, wearing masks has helped us to virtually stop the spread of this virus locally.  In our Northeastern PA region we have usually less than 10 and in may counties no new cases per day.  In the larger cities like Pittsburg and Philadelphia they are seeing increases, but nothing like the other states.  

 

Here is the big question:  Do you or do people you work with know someone personally that has died from this virus or do you have vulnerable people at home who would be hospitalized or die if they contract this virus?  In our work place the answer is usually yes.  Older parents, children with Asthma....

 

So if you are behind a computer in your own office ask yourself this..Who cleans your office, who transports documents to and from your office, who transports supplies?  You can see where this is going... no one lives in a bubble.

 

We have been wearing masks since the day they were recommended. FULL TIME.  We do allow masks to be removed for lunch and breaks (less than 10 people in the break room at a time and social distances)  This includes office staff, production, warehouse, shipping and receiving. We have a little complaining here and there when it is really hot, but that's all.  I do not stay at my desk most of the day, in fact I run up and down stairs every time I leave my desk.  So a little bit of inconvenience for me may save lives HAND ME A MASK.  

 

 



#18 Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 02:18 PM

We made masks mandatory at the end of March for every person entering our BUILDING. A lot of whining and reports of dizziness from lack of oxygen :rolleyes: and the like. We posted as much information as we could from various national and international health organizations regarding masks and it quieted down a bit. Once our state and recently the county we are in made it mandatory, we started getting the "We've been doing this for 3 months, they're way behind!" and "I'm glad we started when we did!" comments which was somewhat gratifying. We have had a couple of employees test positive from contact outside of the company and after they worked a few days here then showed symptoms, but all tests as a result of contact with those people here have all been negative (about 45 tests out of a workforce of about 75). I'll take the heat on all measures to help protect them with the knowledge that it's best for our employees and their family and friends. All of the measures we've taken have proven to be effective in preventing the spread within our facility. And yes, all office staff wear their masks at all times except the ones with private offices while in their offices alone. Partial enforcement of preventive measures are ineffective. If GFSI measures have taught us anything it's that preventive measures must be applied consistently and continuously. I truly hope this event helps everyone globally (especially Americans) realize that our actions can have a profound impact, including death, on everyone around us and understand the necessity to act based on that knowledge and not just for the next year or so but for a lifetime and raise future generations to understand it also.



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#19 olenazh

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 02:23 PM

We made masks mandatory at the end of March for every person entering our BUILDING. A lot of whining and reports of dizziness from lack of oxygen :rolleyes: and the like. We posted as much information as we could from various national and international health organizations regarding masks and it quieted down a bit. Once our state and recently the county we are in made it mandatory, we started getting the "We've been doing this for 3 months, they're way behind!" and "I'm glad we started when we did!" comments which was somewhat gratifying. We have had a couple of employees test positive from contact outside of the company and after they worked a few days here then showed symptoms, but all tests as a result of contact with those people here have all been negative (about 45 tests out of a workforce of about 75). I'll take the heat on all measures to help protect them with the knowledge that it's best for our employees and their family and friends. All of the measures we've taken have proven to be effective in preventing the spread within our facility. And yes, all office staff wear their masks at all times except the ones with private offices while in their offices alone. Partial enforcement of preventive measures are ineffective. If GFSI measures have taught us anything it's that preventive measures must be applied consistently and continuously. I truly hope this event helps everyone globally (especially Americans) realize that our actions can have a profound impact, including death, on everyone around us and understand the necessity to act based on that knowledge and not just for the next year or so but for a lifetime and raise future generations to understand it also.

CONSISTENTLY and CONTINUOUSLY? Do people really think it's never going to end? That's what scares me most!



#20 Hoosiersmoker

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 02:38 PM

It's easier to let up on the measures than to implement them. I talked to a virologist for Notre Dame beginning of April, whose initial reaction was this will be a recurring issue through 2022. Not all virologists echo his forecast and with treatment protocols and drugs becoming more effective in recovery of more severely sick patients, he might be over-stretching a bit. It may become a new OTC treatment much like we now have for the cold (another coronavirus), becoming something not deadly, just symptom treatment. Not sure a true vaccine is actually feasible but I hope I'm wrong!



#21 kettlecorn

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 03:05 PM

We made masks mandatory at the end of March for every person entering our BUILDING. A lot of whining and reports of dizziness from lack of oxygen :rolleyes: and the like...If GFSI measures have taught us anything it's that preventive measures must be applied consistently and continuously. I truly hope this event helps everyone globally (especially Americans) realize that our actions can have a profound impact, including death, on everyone around us and understand the necessity to act based on that knowledge and not just for the next year or so but for a lifetime and raise future generations to understand it also.

I completely agree with this. As the article I cite above says, masks have been used for centuries; there is no real danger of masks in terms of hypoxia (low oxygen) or hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide) in healthy individuals (though they are not recommended for certain individuals with preexisting conditions). I sometimes find it rather astonishing that even people involved in QA, presumably with their training on Hazard Analysis and their understanding of preventive measures, fail to appreciate that preventive action can save lives. 

 

We had already had in place mandatory respirator mask use for certain stations for the safety of employees. I really don't see how a universal policy for a company is any different. 



#22 olenazh

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 03:12 PM

I completely agree with this. As the article I cite above says, masks have been used for centuries; there is no real danger of masks in terms of hypoxia (low oxygen) or hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide) in healthy individuals (though they are not recommended for certain individuals with preexisting conditions). I sometimes find it rather astonishing that even people involved in QA, presumably with their training on Hazard Analysis and their understanding of preventive measures, fail to appreciate that preventive action can save lives. 

 

We had already had in place mandatory respirator mask use for certain stations for the safety of employees. I really don't see how a universal policy for a company is any different. 

Clearly, I don't see how quality assurance relates to H&S... 



#23 MsMars

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 03:24 PM

CONSISTENTLY and CONTINUOUSLY? Do people really think it's never going to end? That's what scares me most!

 

Preventive measures must be used consistently and continuously until the hazard no longer exists.  You're scared that this won't end - so you suggest the alternative is just to throw the mask requirement out the window and every man for himself? Your logic is very confusing.



#24 olenazh

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 03:27 PM

No, just use common sense and not over-exaggerate the threats. 



#25 kettlecorn

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 03:32 PM

Clearly, I don't see how quality assurance relates to H&S... 

I'm certainly not naive enough to believe those two departments are interchangeable. (In a small company like mine, however, one has to wear multiple hats.) 

 

The broader point is that food safety relates to the safety of others, even others one has never met. As MsMars says, it is about actual risk assessment. That there is push back on this point by those trained in food safety is what is troubling to me. 







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