WEAR A PROCEDURE MASK (SURGICAL MASK) in indoor public areas of the university.
Procedure Masks (Surgical Masks) Updated May 1, 2022
Masks must be worn:
- When circulating through hallways, in stairwells, and in elevators.
- In shared public areas, including lobbies, reception areas, washrooms and kitchens.
- When required to complete a work task indoors that does not allow for 1 metre of physical distance.
Masks may be removed:
- When seated at your workstation in a private office or research laboratory, and separated from others by at least 1 metre of physical distance OR by an appropriate physical barrier (e.g. plexiglass).
- Immediately before eating or drinking, and replaced immediately after.
For those activities that do not permit employees to respect the appropriate physical distance from others. Contact EHS at extension 4877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT: The mandatory procedure mask (surgical mask) required in indoor spaces on campus by the CNESST is IN ADDITION TO the other public safety directives, such as hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. The government introduced this public safety measure in Universities to reduce community transmission of the virus.
- Wash your hands before and after putting on the mask.
- Ensure that the mask covers both the nose and mouth.
- Pinch the metal clip on the bridge of the nose to secure the mask in place.
- If you are double masking, wear the cloth mask over the procedure mask.
- Avoid touching your mask. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible.
- Change your mask if it becomes moist, soiled or damaged.
- Replace your mask at least every four hours.
- Do not leave the mask hanging from your neck or ear.
The INSPQ and CNESST have determined that N95 respirators are not required for use in the education sector. Therefore, the government will not be providing N95 respirators to the university.
As per our internal risk assessments, there are limited situations where N95 respirators would be required on campus. For example, when an employee needs to interact with symptomatic or COVID-positive individuals and is at greater risk of contracting the virus.
If individuals choose to purchase their own N95 respirators, they are allowed to wear them on campus. However, they should keep in mind that N95 respirators:
- Need to be fitted to the wearer to provide the intended protection,
- Provide a false sense of security when poorly fitted or worn improperly,
- Must be certified to the quality standards set by Health Canada,
- Are intended in settings where exposure to the virus is known or very likely.
The procedure masks distributed by the university are manufactured to a standard (ASTM F2100 Level 2) that guarantees better protection than a face covering when worn properly. Please note procedure masks are only one of the preventative measures in place to limit the transmission of the virus on campus.
The decision to provide N95 respirators to employees and students cannot be taken lightly.
When an N95 respirator is provided to an employee, there are regulations about safety measures that must be respected, including:
- Medical clearance to wear respiratory protection;
- Fit-testing to ensure the N95 provided is properly fitted to the employee’s face; and
- Training on how to properly wear a N95.
At this time, departments/units should not be purchasing N95 respirators unless directed to do so by EHS. Due to the regulatory obligations involved when providing respirators, EHS must be consulted. EHS must also be involved in product selection; some respirators on the market do not meet Health Canada standards for N95-level protection.
Departments/units should contact EHS at email@example.com if they believe they have employees who are at greater risk of contracting the virus due to interactions with symptomatic or COVID-positive individuals.
If employees decide to buy their own N95 masks, they will be allowed to wear them on campus instead of a procedure mask. The employer obligations listed above would not apply when the employee brings their own N95 respiratory and the use is voluntary.
With respect to students, although we do not have regulatory obligations as an employer, distributing N95 respirators without any additional information or training could lead to improper use (including being used by individuals who are not medically cleared to use them) and could lead to a false sense of safety. We take our students’ health very seriously and ensure that all procedure masks distributed on campus meet government safety standards (ASTM F2100 Level 2). Nonetheless, if students decide to buy their own N95 masks, they will be allowed to wear them on campus instead of a procedure mask.
N95 comparable respirators
The CNESST advises against the use of KN95 or KF94 mask given the variability of the filtration capacity, fit, breathability and consistency between brands. Therefore, it is not recommended that they be used as a replacement for a procedure mask or N95 respirator.
At Concordia, when N95 respirators are required, only N95 respirators that are certified as per Health Canada requirements, are used.