With mask mandates becoming a common practice in many public spaces, employers force customer-facing service workers to shoulder the responsibility of policing proper mask-wearing procedures.

But is this really fair to them? How can business owners protect their employees in these situations? And how can they protect themselves from potential lawsuits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

David Smith, a renowned lawyer specializing in OSHA citations and related topics, joins host Barbara Castiglia on today’s episode of The Main Course.

His first rule of thumb is simple: Show your employees that you genuinely care about their situation and their health. Show that you’re willing to support them.

However, employers must also take into account the circumstances their workers operate in. For example, those that must deal with hot environments on a regular basis may not feel comfortable wearing face masks during their shift. If this is the case, employers should offer alternatives to face masks — like donning face shields or implementing stricter social distancing regulations.

Of course, social distancing remains the biggest priority for employers to consider. After all, this is the main recommendation from the CDC itself.

Secondly, employers should post the appropriate signage throughout the workplace to remind employees and customers alike about the proper CDC-recommended safety guidelines. Otherwise, they may find themselves the subject of lawsuits from either side.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to proper communication. Employers should show genuine concern for their employees and their customers, and carefully follow through with the guidelines set out by the CDC.

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