PA Department of Health Order Regarding Wearing Masks

Another issue the Association has been working on relates to wearing masks on highway construction projects. 

Prior to July 3, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, through a Frequently Asked Questions document, had been advising that essential workers who are working outdoors performing heavy physical activities do not need to wear a mask if it impedes their vision, if they have a medical condition, or if it created an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.  While this language appeared to provide contractors with the ability to address the issue of whether masks were required in outdoor work, especially when working in the heat, the Association decided to urge the PA Department of Health to clarify this issue and include language regarding masks not being required when workers are working outdoors and are able to maintain at least 6 feet from other workers.

As a result of the Association’s efforts, the PA Department of Health on July 3, revised its answer to the question of masking wearing for workers working outdoors.  The revised answer, which included the Association’s recommendation to add language regarding workers working 6 feet apart, is as follows:

Does the masking requirement apply to workers who are outdoors, and who engage in heavy physical activity?

Yes.  Individuals who may come within 6 feet of others who are not a part of their household must wear a face covering, such as a mask unless the face covering impedes their vision, they have a medical or mental health condition or disability that impedes the wearing of a mask, particularly one that creates respiratory problems for the individual, or if wearing a mask would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.